I recently interviewed Jurrell Casey, defensive lineman of the Tennessee Titans at NFL UK’s Summer Bowl event in London.

Casey was drafted in 2011, and has played his entire career in Tennessee. A Pro Bowl selection on three occasions, the USC alumnus was voted to the All-Pro second team in 2013.

Surely few teams are entering the 2018 season with as much hype as the Tennessee Titans. A playoff run, a string of high-profile offseason acquisitions – can this team handle the pressure?

Can we handle the pressure? That’s what we do, man. We don’t really worry about what we did last year, we don’t worry about what the hype is, we just worry about every day, one at a time. As long as we do that we gonna have a good season.

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That result against the Chiefs in the Wild Card Round may go down in NFL history as one of the all-time great comebacks. Can you shed any light as to what was said in the locker room at half-time?

You know, that’s the funniest thing. The times when you start to talk a lot is when you know something is going wrong. We didn’t do any talking the whole time. It was like ‘We know what we can do. We know this is not us. Let’s settle down. We don’t need to say much. Let’s get back and play football’. And that’s all that was said! Nothing was really said in that locker room that would have changed the mind-set, we were just really trusting the process. All year long we’d been going through ups and downs. That game was really a testament to us bringing everything together and really finalising the process of becoming a true unit.

Did you know as soon as Mariota scored *that* touchdown, the game was over?

The great part of it was, I was talking to the (Kansas City) fans the whole time, and they were saying ‘It’s over! It’s over!’. And I was like ‘Bro… This game is nowhere near over. If we score one time, we’re coming back and we’re gonna win this game’. And sure enough that’s what happened.

Are you one for talking to the fans during the game?

Oh yeah man, I love it. They keep me energised, they are the ones that bring the energy to the stadium so I love to get into it with them. I love to talk to them, because they’re gonna bring the hype, they’re gonna get you riled up and ready to go out on the field.

You’ve been named to three straight Pro Bowls Jurrell. How do you stay hungry?

Honestly, I thank the fans, I thank the media, I thank the people from around the league because they don’t give me the praise, they don’t give me the hype that I need. So my thing is stay hungry, stay going at it, stay humble, and keeping the mindset that you’re not better than anyone out there, because no one’s gonna give you the respect, you have to keep going and get it.

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2018 will see four very capable teams do battle in the AFC South so how critical will those divisional matchups will be?

It’s gonna be huge man. We’ve got a lot of critical games at the beginning of this year that we’ll make sure we win, so we give ourselves a good chance at the playoffs. Like you said, every one of those teams is gonna be good, so capitalising on our divisional games is gonna be a hard challenge.

One final question, which guard have you found toughest to line up against in your career?

The best guard I’ve come up against… Hmmm… That’s a tough one. I wanna say my best battle with a guard has been (Kelechi) Osemele from the Raiders. The biggest battle was when he was with Baltimore, he really gave me a challenge when he was out there. From that day forward I’ve definitely kept him in my memory-bank, and if I play against him, it’s definitely gonna be a good battle. He’s one of the top guards in this league, and one of the top guys I love to go against.