‘I really truly believed I would never play football again’: Caleb Farley counts blessings after dark times

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

When the Tennessee Titans selected cornerback Caleb Farley in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, fans hoped that he would turn into a shutdown corner.

In the past three seasons, injuries have limited 25-year-old to just 12 games. Now, with the 2024 NFL season just around the corner, the 6-foot-2 defender is simply grateful to be playing football again.

“I’ve been feeling extremely grateful,” Farley said on Thursday. “I don’t think you guys understand. I really truly believed I would never play football again. To be out here and running around, I just feel grateful.”

While the injuries would have been enough for Farley to deal with, he also dealt with personal tragedy in 2023. Last summer, his North Carolina home exploded after an apparent gas leak. The explosion claimed the life of Farley’s father and injured another man.

Given all the challenges that Farley has overcome in recent years to get back onto the football field, it’s no big surprise why new Titans head coach Brian Callahan is impressed with him.

“I’m proud of the fact that he keeps working at it,” Callahan said in May. “What might have shut a lot of guys down and the fact that he keeps coming out, keeps trying to play, keeps rehabbing is really impressive.”

Surely, there is a hope that Farley will be able to regain the form that made him a first-round pick back in 2021. Farley played just two seasons at Virginia Tech, but wowed with his natural ability and eye for the ball. In the 2018 season, he logged 36 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and seven passes defended.

In his final collegiate season, he logged just 20 total tackles but added four interceptions and one defensive touchdown. Moreover, the fact that he logged nearly half as many tackles in his final collegiate season is a clear indication that opposing quarterbacks were simply not looking his way. That is often seen as a sign of a true shutdown corner.

It would be an incredible addition for the Titans if Farley were to turn into a shutdown corner in the NFL now that he has regained his health. The Titans went just 6-11 last season, but the entire franchise has been encouraged by the progression of young quarterback Will Levis.

Levis may be the kind of quarterback that can help turn the fortunes of a franchise around. And if Farley can help improve the defense, the Titans could quickly become an exciting team in the AFC.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.