NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As NFL teams begin to make their way into their facilities, safety protocols are of the utmost importance. Someone has to enforce the rules.
Tennessee Titans' NFLPA player rep Dennis Kelly, who stands at 6-foot-8 and weighs 321 pounds, is gladly taking on that task. The right tackle is doing so even if it means being known as a pain to his teammates.
"I think Dennis would be an unbelievable dictator in any country the way he's been handling the mask thing. It's been very annoying but he's doing a good job," offensive lineman Taylor Lewan said.
Even though Lewan and Kelly are very good friends, Kelly has a job to do. Lewan joked that Kelly got on him for wearing his mask below his nose and re-explained the protocols regarding safety in the facility.
Most of the Titans players started to report for testing last Tuesday. They had to submit three negative tests over four days before being permitted to enter the facility.
Life in the locker room is a lot different due to the new safety requirements. The team installed dividers between each locker that extend four feet and players have to wear masks.
Tight end Jonnu Smith cracked a smile when asked about Kelly policing the locker room. Smith said Kelly is "doing his thing" and making sure everyone is staying safe.
It's not easy being an enforcer in an environment that has so many alpha types. But Kelly isn't backing down from the job. Perhaps being able to pass for The Undertaker from WWE may make the job easier. Either way, the players are following Kelly's lead.
"Dennis Kelly is our player rep...he's been anal [-retentive] about it. We're all getting used to these new rules as far as wearing the masks and protocols," team captain Kevin Byard said. "But it's good. At the end of the day, the safest team, the healthiest team this year I think is going to be the one playing in January and February."