Wesley Woodyard Leading by Example with Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wesley Woodyard led the Titans in tackles in 2014, when he started all 16 games.

Heading into this season, however, the veteran linebacker found himself out of a starting job. The team elected to go with Zach Brown and Avery Williamson at the inside linebacker spots, leaving Woodyard in a back-up role.

Woodyard didn't sulk. He kept working.

"An old veteran, Mario Haggan, once told me this when I was in Denver: Don't worry about things you can't control, just worry about things you can control,'' said Woodyard, who played six seasons with the Broncos before joining the Titans. "That means when you get your chance, you shine and you don't look back.

"This offseason I knew I wasn't going to get a chance to start with different factors … But I had to come out here and work hard. My teammates expect me to come out here and work hard and not pout. I am not a pouter and I believe in competition."

This past Sunday, Woodyard found himself back in the starting lineup, in place of Brown. He played in 29 of the team's 53 defensive snaps, while Brown played 15 snaps.

Woodyard played well, posting a team-high 10 tackles against the Bills.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt praised Woodyard for his approach.

"He's been great,'' Whisenhunt said of Woodyard. "He's been a real pro and he's done a nice job. He's an important part of our team and I have a lot of respect for how he goes about his business."

Woodyard, who played at Kentucky, has 15 tackles and a sack on the season. In eight NFL seasons, he's tallied 545 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 107 games, including 57 starts.

Moving forward, Whisenhunt said he expects Woodyard and Brown to rotate at the position alongside inside linebacker Avery Williamson, but it's clear Woodyard has vaulted himself into a bigger role once again.

Woodyard calls himself the "hype man" on the playing field.

He wants his approach – and attitude -- to speak for itself.

"When you walk away from this game you want to see how you changed things for the positive, and make sure you don't leave anything negative out there that young guys can pick up on,'' Woodyard said. "When they see an older vet do something negative, they think they can do it too. So you want to lead by example and do great things."

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