NASHVILLE – One of the Tennessee Titans’ big men will play the 2020 NFL season with a heavy heart.
Left guard Rodger Saffold announced Wednesday that his father, Rodger Saffold II, passed away.
“Today was another tough day for me and my family,” Saffold wrote on Twitter. “Had to say goodbye to my father as he passed away. My father was my biggest supporter and I’ve talked to him before every game for 20 years. That’s one of the things I’ll miss the most.”
The tweet included a photo of the two when the now 6-foot-6, 325 pound Rodger Saffold III was just an infant.
The elder Saffold played football at the University of Iowa in the mid-1970s and contributed at least some of the athleticism that has made his son an accomplished performer. Saffold III, in his second season with the Titans, started 41 of 42 games in his college career at the University of Indiana and 127 out of 130 in his first 10 NFL seasons.
“The last thing he said to me was ‘How was practice?,’ Saffold wrote in a subsequent tweet. “We are truly a football family.”
At 32 years old, Saffold is one of the senior members of the current Titans roster. Only cornerback Johnathan Joseph and punter Brett Kern are older.
Saffold entered the NFL is the first pick of the second round (33 overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft by the then-St. Louis Rams. He started all 16 games at left tackle as a rookie and transitioned to guard in his fourth season.
He ultimately played nine seasons for the Rams before a four-year, $44 million free agent deal brought him to the Titans in 2019.
“That experience helps, but it's all about just staying healthy,” Saffold said recently. “My thing is all about taking care of my body. My health is going to be the biggest asset for me and being able to help this team. … I want to make sure that I'm here for these guys game in and game out.”
In a way, though, he will be alone for the first time.