NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Blaine Bishop was drafted in the eighth round of the 1993 draft by the Houston Oilers, his first goal was the make the team’s practice squad.
It didn’t take Bishop long to realize he belonged. Bishop made the roster, was an early season contributor in the defense and on special teams as a rookie, and he made his first start on Christmas Day.
And from there, he built a career he never imagined.
On Saturday night, the hard-hitting safety was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 2018 class. Bishop played 10 NFL seasons, including nine seasons with the Oilers/Titans. He was a four-time Pro Bowler (1995-97, 2000), and he was named All-Pro in 2000. Bishop helped the team win its first AFC Championship Game and advance to the Super Bowl during the 1999 season.
“Looking back, I never thought I’d have as long of a career as I did,” Bishop said. “I got to play in a Super Bowl, played in so many games with so many great players. I had just enough ability, and I was smart. I had a photographic memory, and a lot of those things brought everything together in a scheme and a system I excelled at.
“It kind of all evolved, and as an athlete you train your brain to keep moving forward and keep getting better at your craft. At the beginning, coming from Ball State I just wanted to stick. But you kind of move forward and reset your goals. To say I was a four-time Pro Bowler and now to be here today, it’s special. And I never would have imagined this.”
Bishop, now a co-host on 104.5 the Zone’s “Wake Up Zone”, joined four other Titans in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame – owner Bud Adams, quarterback Steve McNair, running back Eddie George and tight end Frank Wycheck.
When he joined the Hall of Fame Class at the 52nd Annual Induction Banquet on Saturday night at the Omni-Nashville Hotel, be became the first Titan defender be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Bishop was the 214th overall selection by the Houston Oilers in the 1993 NFL Draft.
“This is a big deal to me, to be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame,” Bishop said. “And I couldn’t have done it without the opportunity to play for the Titans, because of Mr. Adams. And all my great teammates and coaches, it is a tremendous honor."
“I have done a lot of things in my career I never thought I would accomplish. You don’t even set them as goals. This tops the list. I never thought I would make it into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. I am elated and everybody who has come in contact with me is really a part of this. It is really cool. It is really touching.”
Bishop got the news he’d be inducted back in November 2017, when former Titans coach Mike Mularkey gathered current and former players at the end of practice to make the special announcement. Current and former players cheered as Bishop stood in the middle of the field. The surprise came at the end of a walkthrough, during the team’s Homecoming Alumni celebration.
Bishop received congratulations from former teammates and current players afterward.
“Man, this totally caught me off guard,” Bishop said at the time. “I was about to break down in tears right here. I appreciate this so much. I had some great teammates. I was a passionate, overachieving guy. I played with some great guys. Eddie Robinson taught me how to watch film, Greg Favors taught me how to be a little nasty. I did all I could do, but we had a great group of guys. I can’t say it was by myself, that’s for sure.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten that kind of anxiety since running out of the tunnel at the Super Bowl. I’m sure my eyes were watering up. I am really thankful to … owner Amy Adams Strunk and the whole organization. This is very special to me.”
On Saturday night, Bishop had 12 family members in the crowd at the induction ceremony, including his wife and son. He smiled as he told stories about the nine aunts who helped shape him. And he fondly remembered his late mother and grandmother, who passed away in recent years.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson was among those in attendance.
With a smile, Bishop called it the “last hurrah” in his athletic career.
“It is something I’ll never forget, on Father’s Day weekend,” Bishop said. “I really am elated. This is something that’s very special to me and it really is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Former Titans safety Blaine Bishop is inducted the 2018 class of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.