Titans safety Kevin Byard’s alma mater retiring his number

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard notched the first interception off Ryan Tannehill in the Tennessee Titans’training camp Thursday, joking he had to end the streak with everyone writing about the quarterback off to a turnover-free start.

Then his alma mater gave him an even bigger reason to celebrate.

Middle Tennessee announced Byard’s No. 20 will become only the second number retired Sept. 30 during a game against UTSA. Middle Tennessee President Sidney McPhee, athletic director Chris Massaro and Byard’s coach Rick Stockstill surprised Byard with the news after the safety talked with reporters following practice.

“I just want to say thank you,” Byard said. “I’m so grateful. I know my mother would be very proud of me in this moment right now.”

Byard was a four-year starter at Middle Tennessee between 2012 and 2015 before becoming the first selection of the third round in 2016 by the Titans. He remains the program’s career interception leader with 19, 377 yards off interception returns and four interceptions returned for touchdowns in 49 games.

He will join Teddy Morris whose No. 14 was retired in 1965 as the only Middle Tennessee football players to have numbers retired.

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk was on hand for the announcement and congratulated Byard with a hug.

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