NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Johnathan Cyprien was relentless in his approach leading up to the 2018 season.
Then, his hopes and high expectations came crashing down the first week of training camp, and for the Titans safety, it was crushing. Cyprien suffered a torn ACL in practice on August 1, and was placed on Injured Reserve.
“I was devastated. I was confused. I didn’t understand, and I could hardly believe it happened,” Cyprien said on Wednesday. “And it really hit me the next morning when I woke up. I had to use my crutches to get moving.
“The next day it really hit me hard.”
Then, Cyprien talked to coach Mike Vrabel, and at that point “I let everything go.”
Cyprien was in Florida with his teammates at the season opener vs the Dolphins on Sunday, and he was back in the locker room at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Wednesday. Cyprien plans to rehab in Nashville, and provide tips to teammates whenever he can to help out.
The Titans signed veteran Kenny Vaccaro to replace Cyprien on the team’s 53-man roster.
Cyprien, signed in free agency prior to the 2017 season, started 10 games for the Titans in 2017 and finished the year with 65 tackles and one sack. He played especially well down the stretch, including in the playoff win at Kansas City.
Now, he wants to help out any way he can. He also wants to bring positivity, he said.
“I talk to all the guys, and anything I can see, I want to help with,” he said. “Just to drop a little nugget wherever I can.
“My role is just to be myself, and be a guy where people can come to me if they feel they need something. I am going to be in the meetings as much as I can. So for me to help break down some players for some of the guys. I am just going to do what I can.
“At the end of the day, I am not on the field. But I want to do what I can to help guys, because we all want to win.”
Vrabel said Cyprien can help.
“We had talked, and I want those guys that we feel like are going to be a big part of what we do going forward to be around here, and help these guys,” Vrabel said. “They’re another set of eyes. He’s not worrying about playing in the game, so maybe he can study (Texans tight end Ryan) Griffin’s release, and he can study how Griffin got open on (Patriots safety Patrick) Chung, or tried to get open on Chung, or he can watch (Texans tight end Jordan) Akins get open, or how they ran their routes last week and kind of prepare those safeties, or even corner to do their job.
“He doesn’t have to think about playing, he can just think about maybe, ‘Hey, I can give them a couple tips or keys.’
Cyprien said he’s putting together a plan to see “how I can help the Titans win.”
Along the way, Cyprien said he’ll work to get ready for 2019.
He said he’s talked to a number of players who suffered ACL injuries – including Titans running back Dion Lewis – and said he left those conversations encouraged.
“I am focused on getting better, and attacking this rehab,” Cyprien said. “I am happy with where I’m at. I know God does everything for a reason, and I know that something great is going to come from this.”