Landry sees front 4 as group to lead Titans to Super Bowl

March 10, 2022 GMT
FILE - Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry III plays against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Jan. 2, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Tuesday night, March 8, they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Landry hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced. 
(AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
FILE - Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry III plays against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Jan. 2, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Tuesday night, March 8, they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Landry hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced. 
(AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
FILE - Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry III plays against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Jan. 2, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Tuesday night, March 8, they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Landry hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced. 
(AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
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FILE - Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry III plays against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Jan. 2, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Tuesday night, March 8, they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Landry hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
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FILE - Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry III plays against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Jan. 2, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans announced Tuesday night, March 8, they had agreed to terms on an extension for Pro Bowl linebacker Landry hours after declining to use the franchise tag. Terms were not announced. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Outside linebacker Harold Landry loves playing for the Tennessee Titans and wanted to do whatever he needed to make that continue.

Now that he has a five-year deal worth a reported $87.5 million as a key piece of Tennessee’s pass rush, Landry has turned his attention to the biggest reason why he wanted to remain with the Titans.

Chasing this franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy.

“We’re real confident that we have the team to go out and win a Super Bowl,” Landry said Thursday. “I think our front four can lead the charge. But ... deep down that’s another main reason why I came back here is because the culture here is a winning culture, it’s a proven winning culture. And that was really important to me because we know we have the team to do it.”

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Tennessee has reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons under coach Mike Vrabel and four of the past five. The Titans’ streak of six straight winning seasons is second in the NFL to only Kansas City with nine.

The Titans earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC with Landry making a career-high 12 sacks and playing in his first Pro Bowl as an injury replacement. They lost in the playoffs to Cincinnati, but Landry joined tackle Jeffery Simmons and lineman Denico Autry on the only NFL team with three players with at least eight sacks each.

Tennessee finished with 43 sacks, more than double the 19 in 2020 when the Titans faced repeated questions why they couldn’t get better pressure quarterbacks. Linebacker Bud Dupree, the top free agent signee last March, had three sacks as he spent the season working his way back from a torn right ACL.

Landry sees himself with Autry, Simmons and Dupree as sharing the same mindset, always wanting to improve and be the best on the field.

”I just think that that’s a characteristic you need to like lead the charge to have that impact on the team to go out and win a Super Bowl,” Landry said.

A second-round pick out of Boston College at No. 41 overall in 2018, Landry has the sixth-longest streak among NFL defensive players with 52 straight games started. He has played 64 consecutive games since sitting out his first game, leading the Titans in sacks three straight seasons, with a team-high 31 sacks over his first four seasons.

The Titans agreed to terms with Landry on a new deal while still approximately $10 million over the salary cap. They agreed to a one-year deal with long snapper Morgan Cox on Thursday.

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Tennessee also started clearing much-needed cap space Thursday by waiving left guard Rodger Saffold, reserve offensive lineman Kendall Lamm and running back Darrynton Evans. Releasing Saffold saved about $10.5 million in cap space, while Lamm’s release saved $3.2 million, according to Spotrac.com.

A 12-year veteran, Saffold turns 34 in June after playing three of the four years on his contract with Tennessee following signing as a free agent. He started 46 games in that span, including 15 in 2021. Lamm started one of 12 games he played last season.

The Titans drafted Evans in the third round in 2020 to be a change-up to Derrick Henry. But injuries limited Evans to six games combined over two seasons. He ran 16 times for 61 yards and caught four passes for 38 yards and a touchdown.

Releasing Evans leaves Tennessee with only one player from the first three rounds of the 2020 draft still on the roster, cornerback Kristian Fulton, a second-round pick that year out of LSU.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

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