NASHVILLE – Todd Downing has a job to do, and he intends to do it to the best of his ability even as the uncertainty of discipline and legal entanglements hang over him due to an off-the-field incident nearly a week ago.
“Right now, my focus is on being a great offensive coordinator today,” the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator said Wednesday. “And I will take – face on – everything as it comes. But I owe it to these guys to focus on today and my duties today.”
Downing faces the likelihood of discipline from the NFL office after he was pulled over for speeding early last Friday morning and ultimately arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The incident occurred hours after the Titans improved to 7-3 with a 27-17 victory at Green Bay and relatively shortly after the team charter arrived back in town.
The 42-year-old who has worked in the NFL since he was 23 shed no light on the specifics of the encounter, citing an ongoing league investigation and the resultant legal issues. He did, however, express remorse for his actions and resolve that one bad moment won’t define his career or his life.
“First of all, I'd like to acknowledge how serious this situation is,” Downing said in his first public comments since the arrest. “I understand what a sensitive and troubling subject this is, and I'm not naive to and how much pain there may be for some people, you know, involved in in similar situations.
“I put my family through some things that they don't deserve. I have an amazing wife and amazing son who love me unconditionally, and don't want them to have to endure anything more than what I’ve brought on.
“It's devastating that my actions or anything that I'm involved with could ever bring negative attention to, or bring distractions to this organization, to the ownership – Miss Amy [Adams Strunk] – and to the front office and, obviously, coach [Mike] Vrabel.
“I believe myself as a man, and I believe that I will into the bell to lead this offense going forward.”
Vrabel said a day earlier that franchise officials plan for Downing to remain on the job until the NFL issues a suspension, additional information or legal issues arise or something else gives them reason to change their minds.
As a result, Downing has led the offense in practice this week, has been the primary architect of the game plan for Sunday’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium and will be the play-caller in that rematch of teams that met in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs.
“I thank Coach Vrabel and [general manager] Jon Robinson and Miss Amy for allowing me the opportunity to lead this offense going into this weekend,” Downing said. “And these guys in the locker room, they deserve for me to put my best efforts forth in that.
“… It’s not a catchphrase or a tagline that this is a family here. These guys have really helped me focus on the job they deserve for me to do for them. So, I've been working hard to try to compartmentalize, you know, my dealings with my duties here.”
Downing joined the Titans in 2019 as tight ends coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2021. He has worked for five other NFL teams dating back to 2001 when he was an intern/assistant with the Minnesota Vikings.
“I try to build trust every single day in this organization,” he said. “I feel as though for 20-plus years in this business I’ve worked hard to try to create and maintain an identity. I’ve tried to live strong in my faith and be a man of high character. And my hope is that the feeling that these players and the guys I work with, their response has been genuine and that track record speaks for itself.
“I love this team, and I love the men I get to work with, and I love the role that I’ve been entrusted to be a part of. As long as they allow me to do that, I want to be great at that role.”