Mike Vrabel appeared on Zoom Thursday morning in a self-proclaimed “good mood.”
Not because his team is 5-1. Not because his team leads the AFC South as November approaches.
The Tennessee Titans head coach could not have been prouder to announce that safety Kevin Byard is the 2020 Tennessee Titans Walter Payton Man of the Year. The recognition means the fifth-year safety is one of 32 finalists for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, presented annually to honor a player's volunteer and charity work along with success on the field. The winner will be announced during Super Bowl week in February.
This is the first time Byard has won the award.
“It’s something that all of us are striving for, to have some balance,” Vrabel said. “In our families, in our personal life, in our professional life, and what we are able to do to impact other people around the community, and I know that is something that Kevin has done a lot of.”
The Pro Bowl safety is indeed a man of service.
In September, the NFL Players’ Association named Byard the Week 0 Community MVP after he hosted back-to-school events that benefited more than 100 disadvantaged families in the metropolitan Nashville area. Byard helped pack and distribute more than 300 distance learning kits that included backpacks, various school supplies, essential hygiene items, sporting goods and gift cards.
The 27-year-old launched the Byard Family Legacy Fund in 2019, which strives to provide families and individuals in the community a better tomorrow. Through that organization, Byard has hosted free youth football camps and Thanksgiving food drives, among other things. He also has provided shoes, socks and other clothing to youth.
The Titans’ co-captain also assisted teammates and coaches in cleaning up the greater Nashville area in March after a tornado ravaged through the area. Along with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Byard has been one of the team's biggest advocates for social justice, inclusion and ending racism in America.
Byard has been a man of service at his home as well. In the offseason, Byard said he met one of his biggest milestones this offseason when he purchased his mother her “forever home.”
In August, Byard helped deliver his second child, Kevin Leon Byard IV, at his home in Nashville. He told reporters the exhilarating story during a press conference in September.
On the field, the 2016 third-round draft pick out of Middle Tennessee State made the Pro Bowl and took home All-Pro honors in his second NFL season (2017). He has been a team captain twice (2019, present) and leads all NFL safeties with 17 interceptions since the 2017 season.