Fall 2021 SS Magazine

20 NFL players to watch in 2020: Tennessee Titans OL Rodger Saffold

Through Sept. 13, the first Sunday of the 2020 NFL season,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting one Christ-following player each day for 20 days.

Entering his second year with the Tennessee Titans, offensive lineman Rodger Saffold is excited to build upon the end of the 2019 season.

The Titans won seven of their last 10 games to finish 9-7 and make the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. After two surprising upsets over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee jumped out to a 17-7 lead over Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game before succumbing to the eventual Super Bowl champions.

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“(This year,) we get to start off on the right foot from the beginning,” Saffold said last month during a conference call. “I know what the coaches want from me. I know what they’re looking for, as far as speed wise. And it’s just going to help our entire offensive line all around because now we have a bunch of veterans that know what’s going on with the offense, and we can help out the younger guys when they need to come along.”

Expectations are sky-high for the Titans. Some believe Tennessee is the front-runner for the AFC South crown with rejuvenated quarterback Ryan Tannehill, emerging superstar running back Derrick Henry and third-year coach Mike Vrabel.

Production from Tennessee’s offensive line with the 32-year-old Saffold — who spent nine years with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams before he signed with Tennessee in March 2019 — will be crucial to sustained team success. Saffold seeks to reach the second-team All-Pro level he did back in 2017.

But he doesn’t feel the pressure to perform. Saffold said he felt those thoughts melt away as his relationship with the Lord strengthened during his 2018 season with the Rams. He was even baptized during Los Angeles’ run to the Super Bowl in January 2019.

“My relationship with Christ is as close as it’s ever been,” Saffold told Sports Spectrum that year prior to the Super Bowl. “… I feel like having that closer relationship takes a lot of the pressure off and a lot of the stress that you have in daily life. I’ve been able to go through this entire season with a different joy.”

Saffold shared more about his faith in Christ this past February, when he and teammates Wesley Woodyard, Tannehill and team chaplain James Mitchell joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast.

“For me, [faith] is huge. This is bigger than football. This is the best part of me,” he said. “This is what’s going to last forever. It’s the only thing I’m going to do that’s going to be my entire life.”

Saffold said the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 10:5 has been especially inspiring to him in his walk with the Lord.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 10:5

“There is no more that you could do and no less that you could do,” Saffold said on the podcast, as he talked about receiving God’s love. “I’ve definitely been on the side where you just feel kind of ashamed and you feel like you can’t go back to Him. You can’t go back to the Lord and get back what you lost from Him, but you didn’t lose anything. He already knows you from the beginning, so you’re just trusting in that and not letting that separate you from your relationship with God, with Jesus.”

Later, he added, “My mission to be able to spread the Word to everyone and get this Word out about the love of Jesus Christ, I feel like that’s super important with me and I just want to get started doing that.”

The Titans open their 2020 season on the road Sept. 14 in Denver.

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