Countdown to Kickoff: 65 Days

David Boclair

The countdown to kickoff continues.

The Tennessee Titans will open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver. That is 65 days away. So, today we look at one way the number 65 figures into the team’s recent history.

A foot injury cut short Lance Schulters’ time with the Tennessee Titans and made his final numbers look somewhat pedestrian. For example, he averaged just 65 tackles per season.

In the two-plus seasons that he patrolled the defensive backfield, though, the hard-hitting safety made an impact – in more ways than one.

A free agent addition in 2002, he led the Titans that season with six interceptions, which tied his career-high, and made 94 tackles, the highest total of his career. The next season he made 89 more tackles.

It was not just the number of stops that stood out. It was where he made them. Schulters ensured that the departure of four-time Pro Bowler Blaine Bishop following the 2001 season, did not derail the defense.

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, Schulters was just as much a force around the line of scrimmage as Bishop. In 2002, the Titans were second in the NFL against the rush and a year later they had the league’s best run defense.

Originally a fourth-round pick by San Francisco, the New York native who made it to the NFL out of Hofstra, also injected a healthy dose of attitude into the defense. Schulters, along with linebacker Keith Bulluck, was one of the driving forces behind that unit’s decision to dub itself the Tennessee Tyrants.

"What's a Tyrant? A Tennessee Tyrant just didn't care,'' Schulters told the Titans’ website in 2017. "He would go hit you, bang you, talk trash, and back it up -- that was us.”

The foot injury limited him to just three games played and 12 tackles in 2004. He finished his career with two seasons in Miami (2005, 2007) and one in Atlanta (2006), where he is currently a defensive assistant.

None of that dulled what he did before that.