Players sensed something was up when Director of Player Development Tina Tuggle was waiting at the front of the room as players filed in.
Once everyone was seated, Tuggle spoke about the importance of players finishing their college degrees, and how the Titans like to publically honor those who go back to school and finish their academic careers.
At that point, everyone in the room knew who was about to be honored — it was Verner, who went back to UCLA during the NFL lockout this past off-season to get his bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics and applied science.
You can watch the video right here!
“It’s a big step,” Verner told ESPN.com’s Peter Yoon as he was in his final days studying at UCLA in June. “I always knew that I wanted to come back, but I didn’t know when I would have time. It was unfortunate about the lockout…but the one bright spot about it was that I had the opportunity to finish school and get my degree.”
Verner comes from an academic family. His mother, Vicki, felt strongly about her son finishing his degree.
“I told all my kids that everybody in the house was going to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree,” Vicki Verner said. “I told them that ever since they were born so there was never any doubt that he would and we’re so proud of him that he’s doing it.”
Verner told ESPN.com the hardest thing was getting himself in tune with being a student again after being off playing football for the Titans.
“All of my classes give a tremendous amount of homework so it was hard to get motivated after being away and not having to do homework. The hardest thing was getting over that mental block and getting back into student mode,” he said.
But at the end of the day, it was well worth taking advantage of the rare free time he had last off-season.
“I’m really happy I did it and did it this way,” Verner said.
And on Friday, the Titans took time out to say ‘job well done’ in front of his teammates.
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