Story By: Brady Trapnell
If you happen to see a 6’7″, 310 pound man running through downtown Nashville with a fake sword, then don’t be alarmed.
It’s the Tennessee Titans two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan playing Fortnite in real life.
And, he is playing with around 100 of his teammates. Take a look:
(Thanks to Nate Bain with the Titans for the videos from the player’s Instagram stories)
Fortnite, for those who are unfamiliar, is a Battle Royale style third-person shooter game where 100 players are dropped on an island and do everything they can to be the last person left. Rolling Stone estimates that over 60 million people have downloaded the game since its inception in September of 2017. It is the most popular video game in the world.
It has stolen the minds and hearts of teenagers and video game crazed adults worldwide, including my 14-year-old brother who has been begging me to play for what seems like forever.
The idea for the Titans real-life version called the “Titan Games,” according to Lewan, came from last season’s offensive line coach.
“Honestly, Russ Grimm told the O-line about it back in the day,” Lewan told me after Wednesday’s offseason practice. “Me and (Will) Compton were sitting there at breakfast one day. And, we were like ‘let’s just run it past ‘Vrabes’ and see what he says.’ I went in there fully thinking it is going to be a hard no, but he came in and he started spouting off ideas of what we could do and what we could not do.”
Vrabes, Lewan’s head coach Mike Vrabel, helped build the rules and set the playing field.
“Two guys, two players on a team. Each player, one offense and one defense. So you can’t do anything inside the facility,” Lewan said. “But, on days we do have practice the curfew is 7:30 p.m., and the days we don’t have practice the curfew is midnight.
“You have to have video evidence of you touching a guy with a sword. It’s called tagging not called killing. It is 2018 that could be a trigger for some people. It’s tagging and once that person is tagged they are out.”
Many players have already lost their lives including second-year linebacker Jayon Brown.
“Poor Jayon, bless his heart,” Lewan said. “We lost him on Saturday night. But he wasn’t strapped so that’s his problem.”
The Titans are not the only professional sports team in Nashville to experience a Fortnite craze. The Nashville Predators are known Fortnite players, as shown in this piece by Penalty Box Radio.
But, before you think the Titans are being immature and should focus on football, the franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota is even playing the game too. His head coach doesn’t seem to regret the decision either.
“They seem to be having fun with it and being safe at the same time,” said Vrabel on the game. Listen to his whole quote below:
It shows the Titans are different than what many analysts are deeming them, as the
“Patriots of the South.” They like to have fun too. This would never happen in New England.
“It’s a fun little thing on top of OTAs,” Lewan said. “This is fun. These are shorter days. It is serious but we are not playing a game on Sunday, so it is an opportunity to have a little fun in the offseason.”
A winner of the “Titan Games” will be declared before the players depart the Titans facility June 14, according to Vrabel. A prize has not been announced, but the current leaderboard will be posted on Titans social media accounts Thursday or Friday.
As for Lewan’s status in the game, he is still alive for now.
He just sees this massive, and quite frankly hilarious game, as an opportunity to build team chemistry.
“I would say so. I mean, we’ll see,” Lewan said on building team chemistry. “I think you know at the end of the day guys are going to get together. You may go to someone’s house and lay under their car, wait until they wake up in the morning and boom you’re got.”
Watch my full interview with Taylor Lewan below: