Only a couple of months removed from capturing a Super Bowl with
the Baltimore Ravens, Bernard Pollard sounds like a man more than ready
to move on.
Pollard certainly won't forget the many highs of his
two-year tenure with the Ravens, which included five playoff victories
and a 2012 postseason run that culminated in Baltimore's 34-31 victory
over San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII.
"It was a great feeling
because it's what you worked so hard for all season long - from the
offseason to training camp and through the season," said Pollard, who
signed with the Titans last month. "It doesn't get any bigger than
But Pollard is more than tired about the other questions
that always seem to be raised of his past year in Baltimore, questions
about a midseason incident that was described by some as a "locker-room
mutiny" of sorts.
Pollard and former Ravens teammate Ed Reed, two
respected veteran leaders, strongly voiced their disapproval when coach
John Harbaugh announced plans for a full-pads practice on the first day
after a bye week that followed a lopsided loss to Houston. The ensuing
no-holds-barred dialogue between Ravens players and Harbaugh in the
locker room ultimately would be called a "turning point" by some Ravens,
but it also eventually may have played a part in Pollard's release last
"As far as talking about any disappointments (in Baltimore), I'm a Tennessee Titan
now and I could really care less about that," Pollard said. "I've
talked about it too much and I've answered that question so many times,
talking about mutiny and this and that and the Baltimore Ravens.
you know what? I'm no longer in Baltimore and I'm a Titan now. (Titans)
fans have embraced me. They've been great. For me, I'm ready to move
on. This is another chapter for me, and it's going to be fun."
Titans clearly hope that's the case, which is why they signed Pollard
to a one-year, $2 million contract just a week after the Ravens released
him, despite already having an experienced strong safety, George
Wilson, on the roster.
Tennessee is looking for the aggressive and
outspoken Pollard to play a big part in helping improve a defense that
surrendered a franchise-record 471 points last season.
defensive coordinator Jerry Gray compared Gray's hard-hitting style and
leadership ability to that of three very productive NFL safeties (two no
longer active) in former Titan Blaine Bishop, former Seahawk Lawyer
Milloy and the Patriots' Adrian Wilson.
"When you look at guys
like that, they're just football players, guys who can blitz, who can
tackle and who can hit when they need to," Gray said. "But to me,
they're more than just guys who can go hit wide receivers coming across
the middle. That's not a fair assessment of him.
"I think it's
also about being a great guy in the locker room and a guy who is going
to hold guys accountable in the locker room. I think that's a positive.
When (Pollard) is saying, 'Not only am I just a good football player on
the field, I'm the same way off the field,' that's when you're going to
Still, the Titans clearly were interested enough in
the locker room incident of last year that it was brought up when the
28-year-old Pollard visited Nashville before signing.
"By the time
Bernard came in here, that had all been reported and addressed, but we
all talked it over," Titans general manager Ruston Webster said. "I feel
like we're good there and we've covered our bases. His positives for us
would definitely outweigh the negatives."
Gray said he wasn't
aware of the incident until it was talked about during Pollard's visit,
but said he had no problems with the veteran's explanation.
satisfied us with his answers because, for me, the guys I mentioned
along the lines of a Blaine Bishop or Lawyer Milloy, those are the type
of guys that are going to challenge you a little bit as a coach," Gray
said. "I'm not saying challenge you as a head coach and I don't want to
get into what he did in Baltimore. But I don't want guys to sit there
and say, 'Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir,' and then go out there and don't
believe in what we're saying.
"I want a guy to say, 'Look, coach,
is there a way we can do this better? Is this going to help us win a
football game?' You want guys feeling like this is their team and that
they are a part of it."
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Pollard said he's
looking forward to playing for both Gray and Gregg Williams, who was
hired by the Titans as senior assistant/defense earlier in the
offseason. Pollard hadn't met Williams before visiting the Titans, but
he's never been shy to talk about the "Bountygate" scandal that led to
Williams' yearlong suspension from the NFL.
"I'm one of those guys
that continues to say you don't have to pay me to go out there and
knock the (heck) out of somebody because that's something I love doing
anyway," Pollard said. "If anything, the club is already paying me to do
that. I'm not saying the club is provoking us to go out there and hit
anybody, but just to get things done and to make things happen."
has always brought an aggressive, attacking style to his defenses, and
it sounds as if that philosophy sits well with Pollard.
old-school player, and I think a good start-up for a defense is to go
out there and just slap somebody," Pollard said. "That's something
that's going to get us motivated. That's going to show the offense and
the special teams that, 'Hey, let's get this thing going.' "
practiced what he preached with the Ravens last season, leading the
team with 98 tackles despite playing most of the year with six cracked
ribs suffered in the second week of the season.
that Pollard sometimes crosses the line from being a hard-hitting player
to a dirty player, perhaps in light of the fact he's injured key
Patriots such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley over the
But don't expect Pollard to apologize for his style of play - or alter it - now that he's a Titan.
could care less about what people think about me as a player," Pollard
said. "I have to feed my family. I have to go out there and play for the
city and the organization and my teammates.
"If you want to call
me dirty because I hit hard, I'm fine with that. You can call me dirty
all day long. But I'm not going to change the way I play. I will not. I
will not compromise. I will not give it up."