What Kevin Byard's comments say about his status with Tennessee Titans now and in future

Kevin Byard will be where he needs to be when he needs to be there.

It's hard to glean any further takeaways from Byard's first public comments about his noteworthy offseason. He didn't talk about his feelings on being asked to take a pay cut by Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon. He explained why he skipped voluntary workouts but not why he skipped OTA practices. And he didn't disclose whether he'll be at the facility next week when OTAs resume.

But he said there was never any doubt he'd be with the Titans for mandatory minicamp. And so he was.

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It's hardly a controversy when veterans skip out on OTAs. They're not mandatory. Stars around the league like Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt all missed at least a day of OTAs this year. Last year, Titans like Jeffery Simmons, Derrick Henry and Harold Landry skipped out. Veterans benefit less from spring workouts than younger players, especially veterans like Byard who have a returning head coach, defensive coordinator and position coach.

The circumstances around Byard's absence make things a little more interesting. Byard maintains he was absent from OTAs because his offseason regimen called for ramping up to full speed long before voluntary workouts began and he didn't want to slow back down and knock his training off schedule.

Byard's never given anyone any reason not to take him at his word. But even if there were deeper reasons at play for why Byard didn't attend OTAs, no one would judge him for it. Players ranging from New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram to Washington Commanders defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat sat out part of or all of OTAs this offseason in response to being franchise tagged or looking for a new contract.

As Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said early in OTAs, things like this are "part of the business." But so is showing up and doing the job you're paid to do, which Byard said is still his main focus.

"At the end of the day I came here for minicamp and I came here to make sure I would focus on football and that's all I'm focused on right now," Byard said.

It's impossible to say how the effects of this offseason are going to ripple through Byard's relationship with the Titans. He's under contract through 2024, though, and at this point in the offseason he hasn't done anything to jeopardize that contract or indicate he wants out. He says he's "100%" happy being with the Titans as he ever has been and, if this week is any indication, that happiness includes prioritizing showing up and playing over holding out to make a point.

When he has to show up, that is.

Nick Suss is the Titans beat writer for The Tennessean. Contact Nick at Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans: Kevin Byard's comments on contract, OTAs analyzed