NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans safety Kevin Byard collected a boatload of individual accolades in 2017.
Byard led the NFL in takeaways last season, when he tied for the league lead in interceptions. He was named All-Pro, and he played in his first Pro Bowl.
This following a training camp when he set some pretty lofty goals for himself.
So what's his goal heading into 2018?
"I knew the question was coming," Byard, with a smile, said at an event for season ticket members last month. "When I look at my expectations coming into this year, honestly I am not going to look at the numbers like I did last year. Last year I kind of wanted to put a big goal out there for myself that I could go and accomplish something.
"This year I want to focus on bringing the leadership, and trying to bring a Lombardi Trophy to the city of Nashville. Because at the end of the day, the stats don't really matter. I can have a great All-Pro year. That's individual stats. At the end of the day I am a team-first guy and I want to see the city of Nashville win a Super Bowl and I am going to make sure I am here when we do it."
A third-round pick out of MTSU in the 2016 NFL Draft, Byard was named All-Pro after tying for the NFL lead with eight interceptions in 2017.
Byard tallied 87 tackles in 2017, and in addition to his eight interceptions he also had 18 passes defensed in 2017. He tied with Detroit's Darius Slay for the NFL-lead in interceptions, but Byard's two fumble recoveries and eight picks combined made him second to none in takeaways.
Byard had three interceptions in a game at Cleveland, and had a pair of two-interception games (vs. Baltimore and Jacksonville).
While speaking to Mike Keith, the team's Senior Director of Broadcasting, Byard told season ticket members he feels blessed by his success.
"I still wake up in the morning thinking of all the things that have transpired in my life the past two years, coming from MTSU, a diamond in the rough, a guy that nobody was talking about," Byard said. "To be a first-team All-Pro, make it to my first Pro Bowl. It's a dream I haven't woken up from."
Byard said he plans to do his part again this fall.
Byard said the goal of the overall defense is to finish in the top five in the NFL in 2018 under new defensive coordinator Dean Pees. In Byard's mind, that would enhance the team's chances for reaching the ultimate goal. Byard wants to make a big impact once again.
"The motivation is to stay (playing at a high level)," he said. "I understand where I came from, and I understand you can't take a day off, you can't take a game off, you can't take a play off. So you always have to keep that underdog mentality to stay on top. That is the mentality I am going to take heading into this season, trying to be a great leader for the Tennessee Titans."
TitansOnline.com looks back at safety Kevin Byard's All-Pro 2017 season. (AP Photos)