Cornerback Alterraun Verner wasn't even guaranteed to remain a starter when training camp began for the Tennessee Titans.
But on Friday evening, Verner's hard work and effort to not only retain hi s starting cornerback role, but to turn in his finest season as a pro was rewarded as he was selected to the Pro Bowl team for the first time in his career.
Verner has five interceptions this season, which ranks second among NFL cornerbacks and fourth overall in interceptions. Verner also has 25 passes defensed, 72 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
Verner has been a starter at cornerback for the Titans for most of his first three seasons in the league, also playing some nickelback in that time as well. But throughout the off-season, as the Titans sought to imrpove a defense that was deplorable in 2012, Verner was one of the players who was made to fight for his starting role. Coaches gave third-year pro Tommie Campbell a chance to claim the job in preseason, and Verner even dabbled some at free safety during training camp.
But he said his faith in his ability and in God never wavered through the process of fighting to remain a starter.
“With my faith, definitely God had a plan from the get-go. He kind of foretold me that he was going to have my back and take care of me, but would not have guessed to this extent. He gave me a lot of confidence going into the season that things were going to be OK,” Verner said.
“I would like to say “thank you” to the fans and to Titans Nation that voted for me and tried to help me out,” Verner said. “I want to thank the coaches for allowing me to contribute the way I was able to contribute. Again to my teammates as well. This is not an individual sport at all. This wasn’t an ‘I’ award or an ‘I’ honor, I didn’t make this happen, everyone had a hand in it. I am appreciative, overwhelmed and very excited.”
While Verner made the squad, two other potential candidates to make the Pro Bowl were left off the roster. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey has 10.5 sacks this season, and receiver Kendall Wright has 89 receptions for 1,029 yards with one game left Sunday against Houston.