Titans Watch Solar Eclipse Together on Practice Field

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** The Titans worked up a sweat at practice on Monday.

Then they put down their helmets, grabbed a pair of special glasses, and soaked in a moment they won't soon forget.

It's safe to say the solar eclipse was a big hit at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

"It's a memory I'll be able to have for the rest of my life, being able to see it, especially with my teammates,'' tight end Delanie Walker said. "I thought it was amazing.

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"Did it live up to the hype? It was sunny, and then in the middle of the afternoon it was pitch dark. Yeah, I'd say it definitely lived up to the hype."

Just like others across the country, the Titans didn't miss out on the opportunity to enjoy this rare phenomenon.

The team practiced on Monday, but it was easy to sense things were different on this day. After all, the lights over the practice fields came on during the middle of the day, and team officials walked around with the eclipse glasses in their back pockets, waiting for the right moment to hand them out.

During a break in practice, some players couldn't wait any longer. They grabbed a pair of glasses, and took a peek. At that point, the moon covered roughly ¾ of the sun.

"The whole thing," linebacker Avery Williamson said, "it was amazing. I didn't know what it was going to be like, but it was awesome to see how weird it looked."

The Titans wrapped up practice around 1:15, in plenty of time for players to soak it all in.

Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" and "Dancing in the Dark" blared from the speakers as the moment of totality approached. Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" played at 1:28, when things got dark. By then, the lights above the field had already been turned off.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey asked Anthony Pastrana, the team's video director, to put together a playlist for the moment. Mularkey also told players not to remove their glasses.

"I thought it was a neat experience," Mularkey said. "I was glad to be out there with the team and see something I know a lot of people drove a long way to get here to see. We got to see it together.

"(The players) were all laying on their backs watching. It was a cool experience after a pretty good, physical practice."

Walker drifted away from the crowd to take in the moment. Others watched it in groups. Several of the position groups gathered for photos in the darkness. Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson watched the event standing side by side. Some players were quiet, while others hollered.

"The DBs watched that thing together," cornerback Logan Ryan said. "We ride together, we die together. So watched it together.

"And that was an awesome thing, really. To be fortunate enough to see it in a city where some of the best visibility is in the entire country, I think it is an amazing thing."

When things lightened up, and the sun became more visible, players began picking up their gear.

The show was over.

"Does this mean it's Tuesday?," one player asked.

He was kidding, of course.

But the experience was no joke.

"It was a cool moment," Ryan said. "I'll never forget it. They tell you not to look at the light. I have to admit that I took a peek at one point. I felt like I had to. I watched with the glasses, but at one point I took a peek without them just to see it. I don't know if I am going to lose my vision in a couple of days or what, but hopefully I'll be OK."

Titans players take in the solar eclipse following Monday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Schenk Photography)

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