It’s amazing how things can change within a year.
Safety Kevin Byard was one of the veterans in the Titans’ defensive secondary last year along with cornerback Janoris Jenkins, safety Dane Cruikshank, and cornerback Kristian Fulton last season. Byard was a leader of the Titans’ defense but he had some veterans around him for the most part except for Fulton. This year though, things are just a little bit different.
Gone are Jenkins and Cruikshank and the Titans are adding young players like cornerback Caleb Farley and rookie Roger McCreary into the room to compete for playing time at corner along with Amani Hooker more than likely being the safety locked in alongside Byard. Heading into his seventh season, Byard is not only a leader on this team but the veteran member of the secondary. Along with being a star safety in the NFL, he also has to be a guy that is a big influence on the younger players. But listening to him speak at St. Thomas Sports Park after OTAs on Wednesday, this is a role he completely understands and embraces.
“I think it’s just important for those guys to see me in meetings doing little things. I think for young guys, it’s always good to see a veteran with his notebook out taking down notes and things like that so they can see from an older guy, seeing how he does it every single day.”
Byard also mentioned that he talks to the younger players on the field, giving little pointers to them as they are taking in all the new knowledge of a defensive system.
Along with Byard being there for the younger players as an example and being someone to mentor them as they go into they go through camp, he also is leading the way in showing them how to take care of their bodies. Byard was noticeably leaner looking despite weighing near the same as last season and when asked why he gave a detailed answer.
“A lot of this can be contributed to having a better diet and eating more clean. Not eating a whole lot of fast food. Just staying in tune with my body and I feel like it helps on the field.”
His new diet also included less red meat and mainly fish and chicken, not a lot of carbs at night and includes intermittent fasting, where he says he usually doesn’t eat until 11 am and his last meal of the day is around 7 or 7:30, allowing him to feel “light” as he said.
Byard recognizes that he is the veteran many will look forward to in the secondary and on this defense and he is doing all he can to be there for his younger teammates both on the field with tips and pointers and off the field with the example in how to take care of his body. With rookie Roger McCreary calling Byard a mentor to him, it seems like Byard is off to a good start as the veteran leader surrounded by more youngsters.