FT. CAMPBELL, Ky. — The Titans continued a long-standing tradition of visits to Ft. Campbell on Friday with an appearance at the Army post’s Health and Safety Day.
|Tight end |
Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, safety Robert Johnson and tight end Craig Stevens took things to the next level by participating in the Titans’ educational program and an NFL Play 60 event. It marked the first time the Titans added the program that’s performed in schools throughout the year and Play 60 event to their appearances at Health and Safety Day.
The players told young children, teens and adults about the importance of eating healthy, nutritious foods and exercising for 60 minutes a day. The players then reinforced the message by leading groups through football drill stations where young people could throw footballs at targets and run around and through tackling dummies.
“It’s excellent to be out here and support it and show them the right way (to Play 60),” Johnson said.
The high-energy program included team mascot T-Rac’s antics, Tennessee Titans Cheerleader Evony and cheerleader alums Bri and Brooke. It was emceed by Jerry Blessing with the Titans’ community relations department.
Park rangers with Tennessee State Parks displayed a bald eagle and red-tailed hawk that have been in their care since the birds of prey were separately injured in the wild and participated in question-and-answer sessions with the audience. The program also included information about the health benefits of milk and offered jumping rope as a type of exercise that can benefit the heart.
After enjoying the program, the young people were able to hit the field. They received NFL Play 60 T-shirts and received demonstrations on drills from Casey, Johnson, Stevens and his wife Kathryn Stevens.
Casey said “it meant a lot to see the smiles on their faces” and added that he enjoyed meeting the participants.
After playing 60, the Titans players and cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for pictures, continuing the great relationship the Titans have enjoyed with Ft. Campbell since the franchise moved from Houston to Nashville.
Earlier in the week the Titans hosted nearly 200 soldiers from the post at one of their mini-camp simulated games, and Stevens, Casey and Johnson said players enjoy any opportunity to show their appreciation for members of the military and their families.
“Well, it’s funny because they’re always saying, ‘We love what you do. We appreciate what you do,’ to us and we’re like, ‘No way, man. We appreciate and try to support you,’ ” Stevens said. “It’s crazy because they put their life on the line every day and we’re just out there playing football, goofing around. So it means a lot when they come out to practice and show us support and it’s great. It’s fun just to be able to see the guys and get to meet them.”
Casey added: “They show us max support throughout the year so it’s good to show them that we support the things they’re doing. We appreciate that they’re out there keeping us safe.”
Cricket Dellinger, wife of garrison commander Col. David “Buck” Dellinger, said the soldiers and families were “fired up” and appreciative of the visit.
“One of our big focuses on post, I say ‘our’ because I mean all of us here, is to take care of our children and make sure our families are really resilient in times that are difficult for the military,” Dellinger said. “When we have opportunities like this, when the community reaches out to us, it’s really touching and we get so excited about it and want to show our support for you guys because we know you’re taking time out of your lives and your careers to come and look after us.”
Dellinger said she the players look so big on television, but learned that they are “normal guys with families” by spending time with them. She said they players delivered the Play 60 message.
“I think the kids are drawn to their celebrity and that’s great if we can use that to get them motivated about taking care of themselves and being active,” Dellinger said. “They’re making new friends out here, and that’s a great thing.”