Demonstrates Excellence on The Field
Since being selected by the Titans in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Kevin Byard has emerged as one of the NFL's top playmakers at the safety position. From 2017 through 2019, no NFL player had more interceptions than Byard, who totaled 17 during those three seasons. His 2019 totals included a team-leading five interceptions, 10 passes defensed and 91 tackles, and he added an interception during the team's postseason run to the AFC championship game. Now in only his fifth season, he already ranks 18th in franchise history in career interceptions. Byard started every game for the third consecutive year in 2019. He has not missed a game–or a start–since being inserted into the lineup as a rookie. He earned Pro Bowl and first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors in 2017, and he has been honored by his teammates as a defensive team captain in both 2019 and 2020.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year
In 2019, Kevin and his wife, Clarke, established the Byard Family Legacy Fund (BFLF) to stand in the gap and provide grace to anyone who needs it. In 2020, they did so through two back-to-school events that benefitted more than 100 families in the Nashville area. In partnership with United Way of Greater Nashville – for whom he is a spokesperson – the all-pro safety packed and distributed more than 300 distance learning kits including school supplies, essential hygiene items, backpacks, gift cards and sporting goods. Kevin even hand-delivered the kits door-to-door.
In March, Kevin assisted the team with tornado clean-up efforts in North Nashville, hauling debris and passing out food and essential items to families whose homes, schools, businesses and churches had been damaged or destroyed.
Following the pandemic, Kevin has found ways to continue his community work virtually. He is a member of the team's player-led social justice committee that hosts Zoom meetings each week with youth and their parents from the YWCA's Amend program. In these meetings, they talk about issues of race, social justice, equality, police brutality and more. The committee has also recently opened dialogue with Metro Nashville PD on ways to improve community-police relations and police reform.
This season, Kevin has also partnered with the local Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research for the "31 Tackle Challenge." Fans pledge a monetary amount for each tackle he makes during the season. For each sack, fumble recovery or interception, donations are doubled. Before the pandemic forced them to postpone, Kevin and wife were serving as the honorary co-chairs for the Rally Foundation's annual fundraising event, Rally on the Runway. Kevin first became involved with this nonprofit years ago as a volunteer.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past
Through the Byard Family Legacy Fund (BFLF), Kevin hosts four signature events/programs each year – free youth football camps, Thanksgiving delivery and distribution, a Christmas event, and their signature Grace Grant. The Grace Grant provides financial assistance to people who have fallen on hard times. Families can apply or nominate someone through the BFLF website.
In September of 2019, Kevin teamed up with Academy Sports + Outdoors to provide new shoes and coats for the children of the Boys & Girls Club in Smyrna, Tennessee.
He also previously served as the spokesperson for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back
Kevin credits his mother for much of his success. Following a divorce when he was in ninth grade, his mother moved the family from Philadelphia to Atlanta. As the second oldest of seven children, Kevin says he "had to grow up fast" to help the family make ends meet and care for the younger siblings without a father in the home. In 2019, after signing a contract extension, Kevin was able to accomplish the goal of helping his mother purchase her "forever home."
Despite having roots in Philadelphia and Atlanta, Kevin is very much considered a local product after playing college football at Middle Tennessee State University, about 45 minutes southeast of Nashville. Despite setting the school record for interceptions, Kevin was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine his senior year. The Titans discovered him at a local pro day.
It's these factors that motivate and inspire Kevin to not only be a resource for those in need but also the best he can be for his teammates.