Fall 2022

Spiritual leader, All-Pro punter Brett Kern released by Titans after 13 seasons

The Tennessee Titans officially parted ways with veteran punter Brett Kern on Tuesday ahead of the deadline for NFL teams to trim their rosters to 53 players, bringing one of the most successful tenures in the franchise’s history to an end. Kern was informed Monday the team planned to release him.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

He posted a statement on Twitter after the news broke expressing his appreciation for the Titans organization and its fans. Among the memories Kern highlighted was getting to lead team Bible studies and chapel services. He ended the statement with a special thank you to Titans employees.

“You will forever have an impact on my life, and I hope and pray I did the same for you and your families,” Kern wrote. “Thank you for your love, support and loyalty.”

Included in his signature on the statement was Psalm 40:4-5: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, the Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you have planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”

Kern joined the Titans midway through the 2009 season and is the franchise’s all-time leader in punts (923), gross punting average (45.9), net punting average (40.8) and punts inside the 20 (373). He ranks fourth in franchise history in games played and has appeared in more games than any other player since the team became the Titans in 1999 (they were previously the Houston/Tennessee Oilers).

When Tennessee signed Kern in 2009, he was just hoping for another chance to prove he belonged in the NFL after being cut by the Denver Broncos. As difficult as getting released by Denver was, the experience became a turning point in Kern’s life.

โ€œI think it was necessary for me as a player,โ€ he told the Buffalo News in 2020. โ€œI think it was necessary for me as a husband. It was really a wake-up call for my priorities โ€” everything that I needed to get squared away off the field to be the best player I can be on the field. It definitely rocked me a little bit, but I grew a lot as a person.โ€

Kern established himself as one of the top punters in the league once he got to Tennessee, making the Pro Bowl in 2017, 2018 and 2019, when he also earned first-team All-Pro honors. He became a beloved member of the Titans community and a well-respected leader in the locker room.

In 2018, Kern joined Rolling Hill Community Church pastor Jeff Simmons for a conversation about how he lived out his faith in the NFL. Kern shared the story of how he helped current Atlanta Falcons long snapper Beau Brinkley come to Christ while they were teammates and talked about leading team prayers before games.

He also shared that while he was in college at the University of Toledo, he was invested in things that “weren’t pleasing to the Lord.” But he eventually experienced a change.

“When I made that 180, things really started to change,” Kern said. “My mindset changed, my mental mind frame changed, my priorities, my outlook on things changed. The Lord gave me a peace, He’s like, ‘You know what? You give this over to Me, I got you.’ And understanding that if I make it [to the NFL], great, let me use this platform. And if I don’t, that means the Lord has something else for me.”

Reflecting on his career during the interview in 2020, Kern made it clear how grateful he is for the ways God blessed and guided him during his career.

โ€œTo me, that’s just God opening up a lot of doors for me to get here,โ€ Kern said. โ€œJust being faithful in Him, trusting in Him. I didn’t get invited to the combine (coming out of Toledo). I had one workout with the Cleveland Browns and that was it. Then going out to Denver and getting cut after my first year and now being in Nashville for 11 seasons, God’s been good. He’s been faithful. It’s just been a huge blessing.โ€

RELATED STORIES:
Despite falling in NFL draft, new Titans QB Malik Willis aims to ‘spread the glory of God’
Saints QB Jameis Winston grateful to God after long-awaited return from ACL injury
SS PODCAST: Linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk on NFL uncertainty, his trip to the Holy Land
Bears RB David Montgomery as he enters contract year: ‘Without God, I can do nothing’
Raiders QB Derek Carr content in Christ: ‘I don’t need the world to give me anything’