On Friday, the Tennessee Titans partnered with Hands on Nashville to clean up their community after tornadoes ravaged central Tennessee earlier this week, leaving at least 24 people dead. Players, as well as head coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson, spent the day in North Nashville handing out food and water and also assisting in removing debris left behind by the storms.
The players spent time speaking with residents who had lost their homes and also helping clean up areas that saw significant damage. Robinson told Jim Wyatt of the Titans' official website that they felt led to to help their community since they consider the residents to be a part of their family.
"This is what Tennessee is all about, right?" said Robinson. "We are the Volunteer state, we're a family and we're here for each other."
For Titans defensive lineman Austin Johnson, this tragedy struck quite literally close to home, as he suffered damage to his house after a tornado touched down on Tuesday night. Center Ben Jones said that he as well as other teammates made sure to reach out to him.
"They were the first guys we reached out to," Jones told Wyatt. "Knowing his wife, and our wives are close and we know it's rough. I'm just happy he's safe, and they weren't at home at the time so that was great news. I know we've offered him places to stay, showed him places he can rent. We just want to be there for him because I know it's tough -- because when you come home and you don't have a place to go ... and all your valuables are in there -- we wanted to make sure we got something on his roof so he didn't lose his valuables that were in there."
Those in the community appreciated the players taking time out of the offseason to help clean up their homes and give out necessities to those who have suffered great loss.
"The Titans mean so much to Nashville and Tennessee," said Pastor Harold Love from Lee Chapel in Nashville. "To see them here says to the residents that they're concerned about them and they want to come down and lend a hand like everybody else, and help them get their lives back together. You cannot put a measure on how significant that was today, so we are really grateful."
Earlier this week, the NFL Foundation will make a $250,000 contribution to CFMT and work with local schools to help repair football fields as well as replace equipment.to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. In addition, the
"Everyone in this community and throughout Tennessee should be eternally grateful to the Tennessee Titans for their tremendous efforts in helping the victims of the tornadoes," said CFMT president Ellen Lehman, via the Titans' official website. "This is an extraordinary gift toward our ability to respond and restore the damage caused by these disastrous storms."