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Titans owner hands out $450k for causes supported by players

Project Return's Bettie Kirkland, right, smiles with Delanie Walker and Tina Tuggle, left, after receiving a check for Project Return at Nissan Stadium Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (Courtney Pedroza/The Tennessean via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey knows where he would rather be on the Tennessee Titans’ first off day of training camp.

With Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk handing out $450,000 in grants to 10 Nashville-area nonprofits Tuesday, he could be nowhere else than at Nissan Stadium.

“Unbelievable for you to have the owner and the organization do something this incredible in the community, especially something that we fight for all the time to try to get out here and get involved,” Casey said. “I couldn’t do nothing but be here. … You’d rather be home with your feet kicked up, but when a great calling like this is out in front of you, you’ve got to grab it and take advantage.”

The grants from the Titans’ foundation went to organizations supported by the team’s players, including $25,000 to Project Return. That nonprofit is supported by Casey’s personal foundation, the Casey Fund, and works to help people return to the community after being incarcerated.

The donations are part of the Titans’ “We Stand For” program started a year ago to help showcase the causes and charities important to players, coaches and officials in the front office. Strunk said the Titans now have taken on some different causes team officials might not have thought of without players bringing them to their attention.

Casey said it matters when a team’s owner and top officials not only are willing to talk about the players’ causes but support them as well.

“I thank the Lord we have a great owner in Amy and GM in Jon (Robinson),” Casey said.

The Titans gave $100,000 grants to a new National Museum of African American Music and the NAACP Freedom Fund with smaller checks for groups supporting education, social justice, immigrant outreach and diversionary and re-entry programs.

Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel joined Casey, three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker and linebacker Wesley Woodyard for a panel discussion on why each man supports his different causes.

“I was getting kind of choked up watching them,” Strunk said. “They take their feelings about this community, they’re so strong, and they just want to do what they can to make change to make it a better place. Nashville’s a great place, but we can always be better.”

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