Tennessee Titans players and coaches spent Thursday morning at the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Training Academy. The team went through an orientation on police work and firearm safety.
Great to have the entire @Titans team and coaching staff at the MNPD Academy today. The interaction between players, coaches and officers was outstanding. Our guests learned a bit about how officers are trained and received information on gun safety at the firing range. pic.twitter.com/V8k9QXhFDQ
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) June 14, 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the third and final day of their mandatory mini-camp, the Tennessee Titans elected to cancel practice and spend Thursday morning at the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Training Academy.
“We had a meeting this morning and we decided that it would be best for us at this time right now where we’re at as a football team, to go over there and visit with the Nashville Metro Police Department,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “I thought it was a great exercise, they talked about gun safety.
“Clearly we met with the NFL yesterday and went through the policies, and part of that policy is there is a gun policy. We know that no one can have a firearm around team premises, or in the parking lot, or at the team hotel. A lot of guys do own handguns, and that’s their right. We thought that we would mix some gun safety in with interaction with the police department. There was a lot of chiefs, there was 30 police officers, there was cadets. Our guys got to work one-on-one, and those guys were the coaches for the day. We tried to listen and pay attention the best we could, and had a little fun along the way.”
The 90 Tennessee players, coaches and staff got an orientation on police work and were educated in firearm safety. According to MNPD public affairs manager Don Aaron, Players were divided up into three groups of 30 and rotated between stations, including a “Police Simulator,” where participants were exposed to real-life scenarios that an officer might experience. Officers also trained and oversaw the Titans at two of the Academy’s gun ranges for target practice. One smaller range featured handguns and, on a larger range, participants were taught how to properly handle rifles with the supervision of MNPD.
“(General manager) Jon Robinson approached us at the first of this month about the possibility of the Titans coming out, the entire team, some 90 players and coaches, to spend a few hours with us at our training academy,” said Aaron to ESPN Nashville. “Frankly, we don’t know of any other NFL team that has actually visited the training academy of their local police department so we jumped at the opportunity. I don’t think the players knew where they were going. I think they were told to load buses this morning and they wound up at the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Training Academy and, from all accounts, it was tremendously beneficial for all concerned; police officers, players and coaches.”
Tennessee’s decision to reach out to the local police in an effort to allow coaches, players and staff to learn what goes into the force’s training is particularly noteworthy, given the ongoing dialogue among professional athletes who have demonstrated in various ways to protest police brutality and accountability.
“I think this is about us being with the police officers in our community and gun safety,” said Vrabel. “I think that there’s a lot of things that you can accomplish. Just like when we go out on the practice field, there’s a practice plan. We don’t just roll out there and say, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’ There’s a lot of thought that goes into a lot of things we do. We don’t want to do anything that’s not efficient with our time or the players’ time. We want to make sure that we get a lot accomplished, whether that be at practice or doing an activity. I felt like we got a lot of things accomplished.”
With mandatory mini-camp officially in the books, the Titans have officially completed their 2018 offseason. According to Vrabel, quarterbacks rookies and some of the injured players will report back to St. Thomas Sports Park on July 22, followed by the rest of the team on July 25.
The first training camp practice will be July 26.