Tennessee Titans Throwback Thursday: Chris Hope
Well, folks – all good things must come to an end. Over the course of the last nine weeks, I’ve taken a look at some of the legendary Tennessee Titans in history, some of the worst, and some of the outright most interesting. But, with training camp firing up in the next week, it’s time to focus on the upcoming season. So, we’re going to send this column to bed for the year by reflecting upon the career of one of the more unheralded Titans defenders of all time, Chris Hope.
When I think of Hope, the first two words that come to mind are ‘reliability’ and ‘consistency.’ He wasn’t always the flashiest player, but you could always depend on him to play steadily. That started when he was at Florida State. The South Carolina native was a consistent machine as a Seminole – playing in every game as a freshman. That trend continued throughout his career.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He was an ace on special teams, and eventually, worked his way onto Dick LeBeau’s defense as a starting free safety in 2004. Hope would go on to win a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2005 before signing with the Titans in 2006.
That stretch is where he had the best years of his career.
He led the Titans in interceptions (five) and passes deflected (15) his first year on the team in 2006. He was also one of only two Titans defenders to score a touchdown that season (the other being Adam “Pacman” Jones). His 89 tackles were second only to Keith Bulluck’s. Unfortunately for Hope, an injury ended his 2007 campaign in November. But, he came back better than ever in 2008, and earned his first only Pro Bowl honors that season. Coincidentally, the Titans earned the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs that year for their punishing run game and stifling defense.
Hope was a hard hitter with a consistent presence on one of the greatest Titans defenses in the franchise’s history. With as many good defenders there are that have taken the field in Nashville, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Hope should not be lost in that shuffle.
He played one last season with the Atlanta Falcons, playing mostly special teams, in 2012. The Detroit Lions signed him in the Summer of 2013, but he was released by August’s end. That would end up wrapping up his NFL career.
You might not remember a single play Hope made in his career, but the theme of it is still important. Hard work and consistency pays off. I don’t anticipate that will ever change.
Career stat line:
Tennessee Titans: 366 tackles, 16 interceptions, 40 passes deflected, two forced fumbles, four sacks, one touchdown
Career: 552 tackles, 20 interceptions, 51 passes deflected, four forces fumbles, four sacks, one touchdown
TENNESSEE TITANS THROWBACK THURSDAY ARCHIVES
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley