FORT*CAMPBELL, Ky. —* As part of the NFL's Salute to Service initiative, the Tennessee Titans partnered with the USO to host a flag football tournament for military members at Fryar Stadium in Fort Campbell on Tuesday. Nine Titans rookies – WR C.J. Board, LB Jayon Brown, LB Josh Carraway, DB Denzel Johnson, OL Corey Levin, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Zach Pascal, OL Brad Seaton, and TE Jonnu Smith – made the trip, along with Titans cheerleaders and T-Rac.
The event, which was open to all residents on base, began with an autograph session and photo opportunity. After all attendees had a chance to meet the Titans, four flag football teams made up of service members took the field for a single-elimination tournament. The Titans players served as celebrity referees and interacted with the teams and their fans on the sidelines. After a highly competitive championship game, each member of the winning team received a football signed by every Titan in attendance. They also received an official Salute to Service hat, identical to the ones that the Titans players will have at Sunday's game.
"The soldiers had so much fun," said USO Center Operations and Program Manager Pamela Holz. "[The USO] connects our service members to the things that are important to them—to their family, their home, their country. What's more American than getting to play a game of football? To be able to play with the Titans, everybody had such a great time."
Members of the Titans organization make several visits to Fort Campbell each year, and the flag football tournament served as a way for the team to provide an afternoon of fun for the military members and their families who make countless sacrifices as part of their commitment to service.
"We value our relationship with Fort Campbell and the opportunity to visit the base," said Tina Tuggle, Titans Director of Community Relations. "It was great for our rookies to be able to show appreciation for our military and for the military members and their families to interact with the players and have a chance to compete on the field."
The Titans plan to continue honoring military members throughout the week leading up to the Salute to Service game. A group of veterans and their families will have the opportunity to attend a team practice, and soldiers from Fort Campbell will also be in attendance at Sunday's game. The honorary 12th Titan will be Sergeant First Class Eric Harder, a Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart recipient. Halftime entertainment will include honor guards from each branch of the military, presentation of the colors, and a performance by former U.S. Marine Josh Gracin. A game ball will be presented to Major General Andrew Poppas, the commanding general of Fort Campbell.
Titans rookies spend time with military members and their families during Tuesdayâs USO flag football tournament at Fort Campbell. (Photos: Karen Hicks Lawrence)