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Titans S Kevin Byard on attending minicamp after rejecting pay cut: Important to come and 'be a leader'

Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard joined teammates at mandatory minicamp this week, avoiding fines after skipping voluntary work this offseason.

The Titans asked the two-time All-Pro safety to take a pay cut earlier this offseason, which thrust into question his future with the club.

After rejecting a pay cut but not asking for his release, Byard said on Thursday that he wasn't too concerned with the optics of the situation.

"I mean, I don't really want to get into my feelings or anything about that, any emotions about. … I guarantee I will not be the last player, and I haven't been the first player, to come to about a pay cut," he said. "I let my agent and the organization … handle those things. I felt it was very important for myself, though … to come here and be a leader and be the person I've always been, making plays, communicating, and things like that. So that's always who I'm going to be. I just felt that was very important for me."

Byard noted that he wasn't worried about missing voluntary organized team activities, given his familiarity with the defense, and that he had been in touch with coaches about any additions to the scheme this offseason.

Like most veteran players, Byard wasn't going to take on fines for skipping minicamp this week and noted the plan was always to report for mandatory work.

"There really was never any doubt from the coaches and my end that I wasn't going to be here for minicamp," he said. "I knew I was going to be here, be the same player I've always been, be the same leader that I always will be."

Byard has two years remaining on his contract, with base salaries of $13.6 million in each campaign. There is zero guaranteed money left on the deal. Byard is set to count for $19.62 million against the salary cap in 2023.

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