Your phone buzzes. Instinctually, you reach down to check the notification. But it isn’t from Instagram, Twitter, or some other social media app. It’s not a text from a friend asking if you want to hang out.

Rather, it’s a phone call letting you know that your entire life is about to be uprooted and that there’s nothing you can do about it.

That scenario became reality for new Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert on Wednesday when the Green Bay Packers, his former team, traded him away in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

“I got a call from Brian [Gutekunst], the GM over in Green Bay,” Gilbert said. “I think he called me, I want to say Friday, and he let me know what was going on. That’s when I got in contact with Jon, Coach Vrabel and all of them. I was able to talk to them for a little bit.”

After getting the news, Gilbert was then forced to figure a lot of things out. He had to find a new place to live, and he is now in the process of learning a new defensive scheme.

“It’s definitely hectic,” he said. “I’m still figuring things out right now. But, I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m ready to come in and compete. Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of applying for an apartment and things like that. I’m trying to get situated out here.”

Luckily for Gilbert, the Titans aren’t entirely unfamiliar to him. Their defensive scheme is somewhat similar to what the Packers ran during Gilbert’s time with them.

“We did a lot of similar things back when I was in Green Bay, so I feel like there’s a lot of carryover. Obviously, just different terminology and things like that, but the coaches have been really helpful with that and bringing me along with it. I’ve been trying to work through the installs and just the different call sheets that we have.”

He also has some familiarity in Titans safety Dane Cruikshank, who was Gilbert’s teammate for a year at the University of Arizona. Cruikshank redshirted during Gilbert’s senior season.

“I know Reggie,” Cruikshank said. “We talked, we hung around the same group of people and everything, so I know Reggie pretty well. I think he’ll be a great addition. I know he’s going to contribute, hold it down for us Arizona boys. I’m looking forward to seeing him play and ball out for us.

“He’s just a good guy all around, I feel like. He’s a ballplayer. He’s not going to cause any trouble, he’s never been one of those guys to cause trouble or anything like that. A lot of positive vibes, I feel like, with him.”

Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen has already met and started working with Gilbert.

“I think he plays hard,” Bowen said. “Just added some depth there to the position, and I think special teams plays a big role with that too. I’m excited that he’s here, man. I’m excited to get him out on the field and see what he can do. I’ve spent some time with him already, so I’m excited he’s here. He seems like a good dude.

“I think right now, he’s trying to feel it out and get his footing right now with everything going on. It’s tough, man, getting traded this time of year when you’re about to get going, there’s a lot of stuff getting thrown at him right now. He’s been engaged, he’s been asking good questions, so I’m pleased with him so far.”

“[Gilbert]’s an edge guy with some length,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. “Those defensive ends in college that transition to outside linebacker has been kind of our model, whether it be with the guys that I played with in New England, or the guys that we tried to coach in Houston or the guys that we have here is taking those guys and transitioning them to outside linebacker. That’s no different than what he did coming out of Arizona and being with Green Bay.”

The Titans may have to wait a little while before finding out what Gilbert can give them on the field. He missed the last two weeks of the preseason with a knee injury, and he also sat out of Monday’s practice for the Titans.

Gilbert believes, though, that he’s on track for a return in the very near future. Asked if he has a timetable for his return, he simply said, “soon,” and added, “I’m definitely working with the trainers. They’re doing a good job of trying to get me right and get me back out there.”

Cover image: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today

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