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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Tennessee safety Bernard Pollard competed with the team Boxing Kangaroos in a dodgeball tournament Sunday at the SportOne Fieldhouse.

Pollard gives Titans a leader

Easing into 1st season at Tennessee

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Bernard Pollard, in his first season with the Titans, wants to help the team get rid of “dirty energy.”

– After six seasons in the NFL, Bernard Pollard approaches the offseason with finesse.

It isn’t about getting stronger, the South Side and Purdue product said. It’s about recovery and making sure Pollard, a safety, gets the most out of his body when the season begins.

“As crazy as it sounds, man, we right around the corner from this thing,” Pollard said Sunday at a charity dodgeball tournament at the SportONE Fieldhouse. “I’m excited but at the same time sitting back. I can wait patiently for it.”

After winning a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens last season, Pollard, 28, will try to help the Tennessee Titans turn around their troubled franchise.

Tennessee gave up 29.4 points per game, good for worst in the league.

The Ravens, meanwhile, were the No. 12 defense in the NFL, led by Ray Lewis, Pollard and a corps of veteran players.

Pollard will take that veteran leadership role with his new team, one full of young talent that hasn’t ripened yet.

“We got a very athletic team,” Pollard said. “We can be dominant, but it’s about buying into what the coaches are selling, and I tell a lot of people that. We gotta be professionals. I don’t care how old you are on this team.”

His experience with Baltimore turned into a brief stint, but taught Pollard what it takes to win and lead. Although he’s known – and often criticized – for his outspoken nature, that will be an asset for a Tennessee team that needs to change its culture.

“Everybody did what they had to do as far as leading on the field, leading off the field, speaking up,” in Baltimore, Pollard said. “All 53 guys did. That’s the same thing I’m doing in Tennessee. I’m like, ‘Look. It’s not about one guy. It’s about all of us, because that’s what it’s gonna take in order for us to be playing in January and February.’ ”

So far, the Titans have taken to Pollard’s message, he said. His work with teammates during organized team activities and in minicamp have laid the groundwork for a better season for Tennessee, which went 6-10 last year.

The team just has to get rid of its “dirty energy,” Pollard said.

“I’m excited about what we’re doing. We’ve still got some growing to do, but at the same time, man, we’re ready to play some football,” he said. “We have the guys to get it done. We have a good team on paper, but teams on paper don’t win games. You gotta go out there and play.”

And Pollard is ready to do so. He just doesn’t plan to get carried away leading up to the season.

“This is a physical game, so at the end of the day, man, it’s about being a pro,” he said. “Take the time that you have off, be responsible, treat the body well, but not being silly. Understand that you still gotta do some work because we got a season coming up.”

smorrison@jg.net

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