NASHVILLE – Titans safety Kevin Byard wanted to make one thing clear on Thursday as he stepped up to the podium at the conclusion of the team's three-day minicamp:
His absence earlier this offseason, including OTAs, had nothing to do with his contract, or any conversations with the team about it.
Byard said he'd been in communication with the coaching staff not long after the 2022 season ended about his plans to train on his own to help get him ready for the 2023 season.
"(There) was never any doubt from the coaches or my end about me being here for minicamp," Byard said. "I knew I was going to be here, and be the same player I've always been, the same leader that I always will be."
Media reports swirled earlier this offseason about Byard's contract, and the team asking him to take a pay cut. Titans General Manager Ran Carthon didn't deny that occurred when asked about it during a press conference leading up to the NFL Draft.
On Thursday, Byard had some nice comments about Carthon. He said he didn't want to get into his emotions or feelings about his contract status, or the team asking him about a pay reduction.
"I guarantee you I will not be the last player, and I haven't been the first player (a team) came to about taking a pay cut," Byard said. I let my agent and the organization … handle those things.
"I thought it was very important for myself, though, to come here and be a leader, and be the person that I have always been, making plays and communicating, things like that. And that's who I am going to always be."
Byard thinks his offseason workout plan helped prepare him for this week's minicamp, and he's excited about the potential of the defense moving forward.
He's looking forward to the 2023 season.
"I feel great," Byard said. "I feel fast."
Byard was asked if he's still happy with the team.
His answer: "100 percent."
Byard said he's focused on the here and now, and not on anything else.
"I actually had a meeting with the group earlier this morning and we had a word of the day, and gratitude is always a word I try and wake up with every single day," Byard said.
"(I'm) blessed to be in the building, blessed to be on this team, blessed to around this organization. I had a conversation with (media at the end of the 2022 season) saying how much I love this organization, this is my legacy, me being here. No matter what happens, man, I am just grateful for every opportunity that I get."