NASHVILLE – Titans safety Kevin Byard strolled out the door at Saint Thomas Sports Park wearing a black t-shirt shirt with the words: "PRAYED FOR THIS" across the front.
A night earlier, Byard had agreed to a whopping new contract with the team, which gives him security on and off the field.
"I want to start everything off, first and foremost, by thanking the most high power," Byard told reporters. "Without Him, none of this would be possible."
Byard then thanked Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, General Manager Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Vrabel, his teammates, and his family.
A third-round draft pick by the Titans in 2016, Byard reflected on how far he's come. But he also made it clear he plans to keep improving and "it's just the beginning."
"From the humble beginnings I come from, being in my dorm room or my student apartment at Middle Tennessee, I never could have imagined I'd be in this situation," Byard said. "Don't get me wrong: I prayed for it for sure, and I sat there and I envisioned it. But to see it happen and see this moment come to fruition, it is a testament of hard work. And it is a testament in believing in yourself and staying humble and understanding: 'Keep working, keep working and keep your head down and everything will work itself out. It's a blessing for sure."
Byard, who has 12 interceptions in the past two seasons, is considered one of the NFL's best safeties, and he'll now be paid like one.
Byard was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017, when he racked up eight interceptions and led the NFL in takeaways. He was also named All-Pro that season.
Byard had 96 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks in 2018. In three seasons, Byard has 246 tackles with 12 interceptions and 10 quarterback pressures.
Byard, whose contract was initially scheduled to expire after the 2019 season, smiled and said his teammates joked with him and congratulated him after learning of his deal.
"The main thing that a lot of guys have been saying is it's well deserved," Byard said. "But I want to continue to do it. That's the main thing – you see a big number and you see a big contract and my whole mindset is: I am going to earn every single dollar, every single penny. I am going to go out there and earn it for Jon and for Amy for believing in me, and I am going to keep on doing what I have been doing, which is staying humble.
"Really, nothing has changed but the change."
FROM THE OTP: Titans All-Pro safety and former Middle Tennessee State Blue Raider Kevin Byard joined Mike Keith and Amie Wells in studio in May to talk football, family and having a baby girl on the way. Listen to the audio below
TitansOnline.com looks back at safety Kevin Byard's 2018 season. (AP Photos)