At one point in time, former Tennessee Titans tight end Ben Troupe had the looks of an elite pass catcher.
The Titans took Troupe in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4 tight end out of Florida quickly made a name for himself before injuries held him back.
Despite ups and downs, he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Titans.
“I got to play with guys like Steve McNair, Vince Young, LenDale White, (Adam) Pacman Jones, Keith Bulluck, my favorite Titan of all time, Erron Kinney. He’s the only reason I had any kind of career in the NFL. Just a dream come true,” Troupe said recently in an interview with WURF-FM (98.1) in Gainesville, Florida.
Troupe went into further detail about the late quarterback McNair, who threw for 31,304 yards and 174 touchdowns in his career en route to three Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win with the Titans in 2000. McNair was also co-MVP of the league in 2003 with quarterback Peyton Manning.
“You notice how when most players get hurt, they’ll be on the sidelines,” Troupe said. “He could’ve been on the injury report all week, but if he showed up to the stadium, he was playing. He was a quarterback by position, but, man, he was a football player. That dude was about as good as anybody.”
Troupe spent four seasons with the Titans. In his first two, he caught 88 passes for 859 yards and five touchdowns. In 2005, he tied wide receiver Drew Bennett for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (four) and finished second to Bennett in receiving yards (530).
His last two seasons with the Titans were ones to forget, though. Troupe caught 18 passes for 187 touchdowns and no touchdowns in just 11 games.
Following his stint in Nashville, Troupe signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. He appeared in just two games that season and did not record a reception
After that season, he walked away from football on his own terms, and found a career in sports radio broadcasting. Right now, he co-hosts ESPNCoastal.com’s Three and Out.
While broadcasting wasn’t on Troupe’s radar as a player, it’s not an avenue for him to stay close to the game he loves.
“Going into my sixth year, I had a tryout with the Arizona Cardinals when they had [head coach] Ken Wisenhunt,” he said. “They wanted to sign me, but because I knew I wasn’t shown the door, I was asking where the exit was, I felt good about it. But you still have regrets. That’s all I have ever done.
“Playing football was my life. It was a big part of my life, a big portion of my life. It was who I was. While I don’t regret it, I still went through the depression, the isolation and the anxiety, because for the first time in my life I didn’t know who I was.”