NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans (3-2) placed swing tackle Ty Sambrailo on the Reserve-Retired list Tuesday afternoon. An offensive line that has struggled mightily through the first five games of the 2021 season loses its greatest source of depth.
It comes as no surprise to those inside Tennessee’s building, however.
Sambrailo, who was in the midst of his seventh NFL season, joined the Titans during the 2020 season. The former 2015 second-round pick appeared in 10 games and started a career-high five at left tackle last season after starter Taylor Lewan tore his ACL and was shut down for the year. Sambrailo helped stabilize things in Tennessee and was part of the group that helped running back Derrick Henry become the eighth player in NFL history to clear the 2,000 rushing yards mark.
Why would he choose now to leave the team and stop collecting an NFL paycheck?
Sambrailo had grown tired of the Titans
Sambrailo finished the 2020 season on Injured Reserve with a knee issue.
The tackle’s time with the Titans was largely bogged down by injury. During training camp this year, Sambrailo sustained a foot injury that had kept him on the injury report and never fully recovered as the 2021 campaign began. His services have been called upon in four of the team’s five games this season as Tennessee’s offensive line struggled to maintain its health.
While Sambrailo was trying to get himself right, he grew tired of being on-call constantly before he felt he was ready to play. The sense that he kept having to bail Lewan out wore on the veteran back-up as well.
The Titans lost Lewan to an injury Week 2 in pregame warm-ups before their game against the Seattle Seahawks began. Sambrailo was again tapped to fill in at the last minute in a way that caused some frustration. The tackle performed admirably in the overtime victory and helped Henry rack up 182 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
Getting the first victory of their season was enough to cover some issues up, but Sambrailo’s dissatisfaction continued to grow.
A more reserved personality, Sambrailo never really felt at ease in his position group’s room. Offensive line coach Keith Carter, who many of the players have grown tired of over the course of his time on Tennessee’s coaching staff according to multiple sources, had the same effect on Sambrailo. Carter has received praise publicly from Lewan and others, but that also came with an admission of how rocky a start that got off to.
“It’s gotten a whole lot better,” Lewan said of his time with Carter this August. “I think there was some resistance from me at the beginning of our relationship. I went scratching and clawing the whole way, but I think his standard that he’s held us to has shown a lot in the success that we’ve had. I hate saying that out loud, but he was right.”
That level of acceptance was not universal across the board.
Irreconcilable differences and injuries caused Sambrailo to think that he was better off without the Titans.