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VOL. 132 | NO. 184 | Friday, September 15, 2017

McCormick

Terry McCormick

Shaw Lends a Little Of His Courage to Titans

Terry McCormick, Nashville Sports Correspondent

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There were more than a few missteps and miscues by the Tennessee Titans in Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Oakland Raiders.

But there was at least one thing that the Titans got absolutely right on Sunday and for the 2017 season.

That was their inclusion of former linebacker Tim Shaw as one of their special teams captains for this season.

Shaw, for those who don’t know, is suffering from ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a cruel, terminal illness without a cure that attacks the body’s ability to function, leaving its victims eventually paralyzed and unable to speak.

Former Titans player Tim Shaw, who now helps the team with special teams game plans and reports, is flanked by Delanie Walker, Wesley Woodyard, Marcus Mariota and Jurrell Casey for the season-opening coin flip. (Photo courtesy of Russell Roberts and TitansInsider.com)

So much like Gehrig, Shaw wears the title of team captain. Gehrig was the captain of the New York Yankees in the 1930s when the illness ravaged his body and eventually claimed his life in 1941.

Shaw, diagnosed with the disease in 2014, is fighting a courageous battle against the terminal disease and coach Mike Mularkey and the Titans are right there helping him fight it every step of the way.

Shaw has been welcomed into the Titans’ family as an integral part of the organization. The Titans have even helped raise money and awareness for ALS research.

Throughout the week, Shaw is around Saint Thomas Sports Park. He watches practices, helps with special teams game plans and reports, gives the occasional motivational speech and even has a locker on the same row as the quarterbacks, kickers and long snapper.

Shaw was overwhelmed when he learned he would be adding “team captain” to his list of duties with the Titans.

“I just shook my head, because it’s an honor,” he says. “I’m not one to put myself higher than I should be. I’m here and I’m contributing a little bit, but it is really above and beyond anything I could have thought of.”

Regarding the naming of Shaw as a special teams team captain, a role he held as an active player through his final season in 2012, it is an incredible act of kindness by the Titans. But it is not an act of charity. Shaw is a contributor to the Titans even as he fights the disease that has ravaged his body.

Titans players and coaches readily endorsed the idea of Shaw as one of the team’s six captains.

“They were extremely excited about Tim. Tim’s going to be at all our games, home and away,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey explains. “They wanted Tim as part of our group of captains, and he’s going to represent us at the coin toss.

“Whatever we have to do to make sure that happens, we’re going to make sure it happens, because he’s part of us.”

Shaw was helped onto and off the field by teammates Wesley Woodyard and Delanie Walker in Sunday’s opener, where he went through the pre-game coin flip ceremony with his teammates.

“I’m honored to be a captain for this team,” Walker says. “It means my peers see me working out there and see the hard work I’ve put in.

“But then to see Tim Shaw out there, it goes a long way,” he adds. “He’s part of this team. He gives this team a lot of courage because of what he goes through every day, and we see it. We are just honored to have him as a captain, as well.”

Quarterback Marcus Mariota agrees, calling Shaw one of the team’s leaders.

“We’re very fortunate to even have him be a part of what we’re doing here,” Mariota says. “We’re honored that he wants to be part of that. He’s a guy that really leads this team.

“It’s an incredible gesture, and he’s an incredible human being who has really brought this team together.”

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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