1 year after his death, Rob Bironas’ family remembers son, brother (WLKY.com – 9.30.15)


LOUISVILLE, Ky. —From the moment 9-pound-2-ounce James Robert Douglas Bironas came into the world, his parents, Larry and Anne Bironas, knew it was going to be the ride of a lifetime.

“From as young as I can remember, he would be off somewhere talking to people,” Larry Bironas said.

That outgoing attitude and a lot of hard work would eventually land Rob Bironas the career of his dreams.

“He said from the very beginning, ‘I’m going to play college football, and it’s going to be Division 1,’” Anne Bironas said.

It all started at Trinity High School, in Louisville.

Rob Bironas was a soccer player with a kick that caught the attention of the football team.

He took the top spot as varsity kicker, leading the Rocks to a state title.

He eventually walked on to Auburn University and Georgia Southern University.

“He had decided that he was going to kick in the NFL and he got an agent for almost a year. That didn’t work out because the agent didn’t give him that many showings. He was working for me and I told him, I said, ‘Take your cellphone; call every coach. Get to know the coaches. Pester them, keep calling them and get in a couple of kicking combines, and that’s the only way you’re going to be seen,’” Larry Bironas said.

Rob Bironas landed a spot on the Tennessee Titans roster in 2005 and didn’t look back.

He holds a franchise-record 11 game-winning field goals, including a historic 60-yarder with seven seconds left in a game.

What fans didn’t know was that he did it all injured.

“His back would hurt so much that he couldn’t get out of bed sometimes. Yet he could get to that point where he could go out on the field and, you know, there were times that it locked up and some of the misses were caused by his back locking up, and it was getting worse and worse,” Larry Bironas said. “He kicked his complete NFL career with a bulging disc that they would have to give him shots for, you know, before the game and at halftime sometimes.”

“It was normal of his nature to make it to the top to be the best. He was always — he was all in, and he was going to hit the top usually in everything that he did. If he didn’t, he was persistent, consistently trying to get there and so when he did get there, it was normal,” his brother, Greg Bironas, said.

During his time with the Titans, Rob Bironas became a dad to his son, London.

He also went on to marry Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, in June 2014.

Just months after the wedding in September 2014, Rob Bironas died in a car accident in Nashville.

“You know, it’s a cliche to say he wasn’t perfect. It’s sad the way he died, but he wasn’t perfect,” Larry Bironas said. “I feel pretty good that what happened in his death is not a picture of Robert.”

His family said the true picture of who he was can be found in his nickname, “Uncle Rob.”

His focus was on children.

He created the Rob Bironas Foundation for Kids.

He even made sure his smallest fans in Kentucky had what they needed to play the game.

“The companies would send in shoes for the football players to try out,” Larry Bironas said. “Each box probably had, you know, $2,000, $3,000 worth of shoes that he would take the time to gather up, get the box, cart it home and either bring up to Louisville or have me bring to give to the teams.”

Rob Bironas participated in 83 benefits during one off-season. Even with a schedule like that, his family said he always made time for them.

“That’s one thing that we loved most about him was that he loved our kids and nieces and nephews, and so we have our childhood memories, but he was always involved in family, and that’s what means a lot to us,” brother Blake Bironas said.

Those memories help ease the pain just a little bit, as his family and fans mourn someone who seemed larger than life but never really out of reach.

“He’s really what you dream of,” Larry Bironas said. “We lived a life of favorite moments as a family.”

(Posted from WLKY.com)

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Titans Remember Rob Bironas on Anniversary of Passing (Titans Online – 9.19.15)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A framed photo featuring Rob Bironas is tucked inside the locker of Titans punter Brett Kern at the team’s practice facility.

It shows the former Titans kicker celebrating one of his game-winning kicks, this one against the Steelers in 2012. Kern, his teammate and close friend, was right there with him that night, just like so many times before.

Another photo taken alongside Bironas decorates a canvas in Kern’s locker, one that includes long snapper Beau Brinkley. It was taken earlier that same season, as the three Titans walked onto the field prior to another game.

A Bible verse, Psalm 23:4, is inscribed on the surface: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

The snapshots provide lasting memories of Bironas, who remains in the minds of his friends and former teammates one year after his death.

“He was a great teammate, and friend,’’ Kern said of Bironas. “I miss him, his text messages, his smile, and poker night at his house.

“There’s probably not a day or two that goes by without me thinking about him, and what happened. I remember it like it was yesterday.”

It’s been one year since the weekend Bironas lost his life in a tragic car accident near his home. On the night of September 20, 2014, the former Titans kicker lost control on a curve in his 2009 GMC Yukon Denali and crashed after 11 p.m., less than a mile from home.

Police said Bironas was speeding when his vehicle went off the road and hit a line of trees before coming to a stop upside down in a culvert. Bironas was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma. Larry Bironas, Rob’s father, told The Tennessean his son broke his neck in the accident. He was 36.

The Titans were in Cincinnati, Ohio, set to face the Bengals, on the Saturday night the accident took place. They’ll be back in Ohio this Sunday to face the Cleveland Browns.

“Rob was always in a good mood,’’ cornerback Jason McCourty said. “He always had a positive attitude, and was always one of the guys having fun. Yeah, he won a lot of games with his leg. But he made an impact in different ways. You definitely miss him. It’s still hard to believe he’s no longer with us.”

Rob Bironas is gone, but he hasn’t been forgotten by those he played alongside him with the Titans.

Bironas played from 2005-2013 with the Titans. He had 1,032 points in his nine-year career, just 28 points behind Al Del Greco, the top scorer in the history of the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans organization, and he made 85.7 percent of his field-goal attempts (239 of 279) to rank fourth in NFL history in accuracy.

He made a franchise-record 11 game-winning field goals, including a 60-yarder against the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 that remains the longest field goal in Oilers or Titans history.

He’s remembered in different ways.

Brinkley has the same canvas photo of Bironas, Kern and himself in his office at home. It was a gift to the players from Brinkley’s wife, Whitney. The night before game days, Brinkley has also started a tradition of wearing the t-shirt he received when he and many of Rob’s close friends and family ran in a marathon in his honor within the past year. They all ran 2 miles – Bironas wore No.2.

“It has a 2 on it with a halo over the 2,’’ Brinkley said.

Brinkley said Bironas looked after him when he came into the league as a rookie in 2012. Brinkley also thinks he was looking over him when he made a hole-in-one this summer on the No.8 hole at Gaylord Springs.

Brinkley was playing with a Titleist No.2 that day. One of his playing partners was Joe Grenvicz, Rob’s close friend.

“We rode in the same cart that day, and after it happened we kind of looked at the ball together,’’ Brinkley said. “Just looking at the 2 on the ball, it was so fitting. We immediately thought of Rob. You know he’s always looking out for us.”

All of Kern’s golf balls have the No.2 on it, because of Bironas.

Titans safety Michael Griffin still has the program from the memorial service for Bironas in the console of his car. Kern, who was Bironas’ roommate on the road for five seasons, and Brinkley showed up at that memorial last year dressed as Bironas did when he traveled, with a blazer, blue jeans and Chuck Taylor sneakers.

“I still think about him,’’ Griffin said. “We shared a lot of great memories together. He won a lot of games for us, but he was always a fun guy to be around.”

McCourty and Griffin said they both thought about Bironas in training camp, in fact.

“One of the biggest pranks he always did was he threw all the rookies shoes and clothes into the cold tub,’’ Griffin recalled with a smile. “That was his thing. We always knew, as soon as it happened, Rob did it. If you were a rookie you were getting it. People would get so mad at him.”

Bironas was money on the field. Only David Akers made more field goals (247) between 2005 and 2013 than Bironas. For kickers with 100 or more field goals since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, Bironas ranked third making 75.2 percent of his kicks from 40 yards or longer (94 of 125).

Kern said he’ll be thinking about Bironas this weekend when he takes the field against the Browns. He said he flashes back to days with Bironas often.

“There’s always little things that just kind of come up and you’re like, that’s something Rob would do. Or that’s something Rob would say,’’ Kern said. “Rob always had a way of just having fun on Sundays and keeping you relaxed and cracking jokes. He would always take your mind off a bad punt or kick, he’d crack a joke about it and move on to the next one. That’s probably what made him so good.”

Brinkley admitted he thinks of Bironas every time he walks into Nissan Stadium because of the influence he had on his life.

“I wasn’t very good my rookie year, my short snaps were terrible,’’ Brinkley said. “Rob could have told the coaches and said, “Get this guy out of here, he’s terrible.” But he stuck with me and I am forever grateful for that. He was a great friend.”

In death, Bironas provided a painful reminder to everyone, Griffin said.

“When something like that happens, you realize it’s just a blessing to be on this earth,’’ Griffin said. “You realize life is short and you can’t take anything for granted in this world. The only thing that’s guaranteed in life is death. What happened to Rob, it’s still hard to believe it really happened.

“But it is one of those situations where you try and value every single day and try and do the best you can.”

(Posted from titansonline.com)

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26.2 for RB2

We have great news from the Rob Bironas Endowed Fund (an endowed fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee)! To help support the “26.2 for RB2″ event that is taking place in conjunction with the Music City Marathon, the Rob Bironas Endowed Fund will be making a matching grant to Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee!

A group of family and friends are running a relay race in Rob’s honor during the Music City Marathon being held April 25, 2015. This group has coined “26.2 for RB2″ and is actively raising money for a cause close to Rob’s heart – Make A Wish of Middle Tennessee.

To learn more about 26.2 for RB2, join the race, donate or order a race shirt, see the links below. Please share!

Click here to visit the Make-A-Wish Fundraising Page.

Click here to order a race shirt.

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An Interview with Rob Bironas at the Waiting for Wishes Celebrity Waiter’s Dinner (April 15, 2014)

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Statement from Larry Bironas following toxicology results

From Larry Bironas:

“We appreciate the hard work of the local authorities to help us begin to answer the many questions we have had surrounding the death of our son. Today we learned that Rob had been drinking, and got behind the wheel. This is something he didn’t do as a rule. We don’t know why he made that choice this time. Rob made a mistake, and he paid the ultimate price. We appreciate the outpour of support, care and concern showed to us by Rob’s friends, the NFL, and the Nashville community. We appreciate your respect for his mother and me, his siblings, his son, and his wife as we grieve.”

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The Baffling Death of Rob Bironas (The MMQB – 10.1.14)

NASHVILLE — Patrick Martin woke up to a torrent of text messages and phone calls at 5:30 a.m. Word had spread that one of his friends was in a single-car accident overnight, perhaps the one Martin, the owner of a barbecue restaurant chain, had glimpsed on his way home from the Music City Food and Wine Festival. Police cordoned off the scene, preventing him from seeing the white SUV that had pulverized a line of torso-thick trees before landing upside down in a culvert across the street from his home. They wouldn’t say who, if anybody, had died.

Well before dawn, Martin jumped into his shoes and sprinted down his driveway. His 7-year-old daughter, Daisy, chased after him. They found remnants of the wreck scattered across the road, personal belongings that spilled from the vehicle and had been overlooked in the darkness: a battered pair of sunglasses, a NAPA baseball cap, debit cards and gun-range earplugs. The trail of debris continued down a steep six-foot embankment and into a drainage basin: Buffalo Wild Wings wet wipes, numbing dental cream, scratched-up country music CDs floating in an oil slick, and an ID card issued by the NFL Players Association.

These were the personal effects of Rob Bironas, the former Tennessee Titans kicker who died, at 36, after crashing late at night on Sept. 20.

“I spent an hour cleaning up his stuff,” says Martin, a heavyset goateed man whose eyes watered as he spoke in a cramped office just off his restaurant’s kitchen. “It was so surreal. We had texted on the 18th. It’s just weird.”

Martin is among the many friends and family members who are struggling to reconcile the memory of the man they knew with the final hour of his life. According to a missing person report filed by his wife, Bironas told her “good night” and slipped out of the house without anyone noticing. There appeared to be no telltale symptoms of distress, but reports quickly surfaced that Bironas had threatened other motorists and even tried running a truck full of college kids off the road. On Battery Lane, where Bironas died less than a mile from his home, there were no apparent skid marks.

“Everybody is trying to make sense of why he acted the way he acted, because it’s unbelievable,” Martin says. “And it’s not just one of those things where a buddy dies and you don’t want to believe that’s what he was. We’re not trying to save face for him. That just was absolutely not him.”

Game day with Rob Bironas was always an adventure.

“If you looked up ADD in the dictionary,” former Titans punter Craig Hentrich says, “his picture was in there.”

The energy drinks only made him more frenetic.

“He’d drink those things as if he was going to go hit somebody,” says Titans cornerback Jason McCourty, likening Bironas to the 10 other hyped-up players on the kickoff team. “Rob’s personality didn’t allow him to be your normal kicker. He was a guy who was talking to everybody.”

One of the Titans’ chiropractors, McCourty says, was assigned to occupy Bironas when he wasn’t kicking so he wouldn’t bother everyone else.

“There would be times in the game when he would come ask me about specifics on defense,” McCourty says. “He would have the team photographer take pictures of different people in the crowd for you. After one game he texted me a picture of my wife and daughter in the stands that he asked the photographer to take.

“He was just very confident in himself. The offense would be out there at the end of the half at the 50 and he’s in the coach’s ear like, ‘Let me kick it.’ ”

Bironas had a pregame routine he stuck to every week; he had to visit the field a certain amount of times before kickoff, see a list of specific people, and kick for a certain number of minutes.

“He was OCD for sure,” says Titans punter Brett Kern, who remembers irking Bironas on one road trip.

“I’d go in and brush my teeth,” Kern says, “and he’d be like, ‘You know you only brushed your teeth for 1:25?’ ”

“Rob, are you serious?”

“You’re supposed to brush your teeth for two minutes.”

“Well do you want me to brush my teeth for another 35 seconds?”

“You don’t have to,” Bironas replied. “I’m just saying.”

“He was like that in a lot of areas,” Kern says. “It was stuff that made you laugh.”

As rigorous as he was about routine, he enjoyed throwing off the schedules of others. “He was such a free spirit,” says Hentrich, who was teammates with Bironas for five seasons. “Sometimes I’d be screaming for him to come kick and he’d be off talking to somebody.”

“I’d be looking for him for kickoff,” Titans special teams coach Nate Kaczor says. “He’d just do that to mess with me.”

But when it mattered, Bironas rarely missed an opportunity. Accuracy was his calling card—he was a career 85.7% field goal kicker, the fourth-highest percentage in NFL history. His talent landed him a job in Arena football in 2003 upon leaving Georgia Southern, and the narrow goal posts in the indoor game allowed him to showcase a pro-ready leg. He bounced around lower-level leagues and worked day jobs, including at a Best Buy in New York, until signing with the Titans in ’05. There, he stuck. Bironas played nine seasons with Tennessee, until general manager Ruston Webster and new coach Ken Whisenhunt let him go last spring despite his having made 25 of 29 field goal attempts in 2013.

“If he missed he was like, ‘Oh well, next kick,’ ” Hentrich says. “Pressure didn’t bother him, misses didn’t bother him. That’s what made him great, and that’s why it’s all so frustrating. He’s being portrayed as some kind of madman, and he was the opposite.”

According to the missing person report filed by Bironas’ wife, Rachel Bradshaw—the country singer and daughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw—she was at home watching a movie with a friend when Bironas wished her good night. She thought he went to bed, according to reports, but later searched the house and couldn’t find him. She called his cell phone several times, but he didn’t answer. She called friends, but no one had heard from him. She told police he wasn’t under the influence of any substances, though she’d seen him drink a beer earlier in the evening. Conflicting details have emerged about the timeline. In a 911 call placed at 11:40 p.m., a weeping Bradshaw said Bironas went to bed at 9:40. She later told police 10:30. At 11:01, Bironas wrecked his Denali.

Connor Fraley, a student at nearby Belmont University, told the Tennessean he was in a Ford truck with three friends when they rolled up alongside the white Denali to inform the driver there was a strange smell coming from his exhaust. Contacted by The MMQB, Fraley said he had received more than 30 media requests and wouldn’t be granting any more interviews until the police investigation into Bironas’ death was closed. According to Fraley’s account in the Tennessean, Bironas told him, “I’m going to kill everybody in your [expletive] vehicle.”

“It was so random, so bizarre. I was like, ‘What?’ And he said the exact same thing again,” Fraley told the newspaper. According to the same account, Bironas then chased the truck through a Nashville neighborhood and tried to sideswipe it off the road.

Some of Bironas’ friends have trouble believing Fraley’s story, or believing it’s possible for him to accurately finger Bironas as the driver who threatened him and his friends, given how dark the night was. “Rob was driving a 6.2 liter Denali,” says Joe Grenvicz, Bironas’ best friend and financial manager. “If he wanted to run those kids off the road, he would’ve.”

But another 911 call was made shortly after Bironas crashed, and a woman explained that she and her husband had just experienced a road-rage encounter with the driver. “He is dangerous, he is drunk or something,” the caller said. “He tried to start a fight with us. My husband ran down there to see what is going on. I just want to tell the police there is something wrong with him. He is dangerous, he is drunk or he is on drugs. He gave us a mean look. We don’t even know him, and he tried to run us off the road.”

These accounts baffle Bironas’ family and friends, who have taken comfort in the words of Rob’s father. At the Nashville funeral for his son, Larry Bironas said, “Your friends and family will, over time, cleanse and heal this small snapshot that has tried to overshadow who you are.”

Rob Bironas was known as a source of comic relief during training camps, each year picking out a day to submerge the clothes of rookies in a cold tub while the team was still out practicing. Beyond that, teammates couldn’t recall a time when anyone was ever angry with him. “He would always welcome new guys in,” says Kern, the Titans’ punter since ’09. “He would make them feel welcome, and I think it was more or less to relax them so he could prank them later on. He tried to put a smile on your face regardless of how he had to do it.”

On Monday nights during the season, Bironas would often get together to watch Monday Night Football in his basement with a Vanderbilt doctor, a financier, a recording artist, a pizza storeowner and two or three Titans players. “Rob was so electric that when he was in the room you knew it. And when he was gone you knew it,” Grenvicz says. “He was the glue that kept our group together.”

In 2008 he launched The Rob Bironas Fund, a charity to promote music education in Tennessee schools. He loved music and hanging out with local musicians, always talking up their work to anyone who would listen. When friends were going out of town and needed someone to tend to their house, Rob would raise his hand. One morning a vacationing couple got a call from an incredulous neighbor: Is that Rob Bironas watering your garden?

The Titans released Bironas in March after nine seasons. His field goal numbers passed the eye test, but he missed a few kicks the team thought he would have made in previous years. Whisenhunt’s new coaching staff also wanted to infuse the roster with new blood and, according to a team source, Bironas’ salary cap hit was too high to stomach—though he was never given the option of taking a pay cut.

By chance, McCourty ran into Bironas at a training facility in nearby Franklin late this summer. Bironas had lost about 15 pounds and was still his confident self. “He was saying it’s just crazy how the business works,” McCourty recalls. “He went down a mental list of all his stats compared to all the other kickers and where he ranked. I had no idea what he was talking about but he was passionate.”

Friends say being released bothered Bironas, who was cut 28 points shy of Al Greco’s team scoring record. “It was tough for him. He was struggling a little bit,” Kern says. “He was a goal-setter, and he wouldn’t let anything get in the way of his goals … it wasn’t like his life goal, but it was important.”

Bironas might’ve been on his way back to the NFL. Growing weary of struggling rookie kicker Nate Freese, the Lions called Bironas’ agent, Camron Hahn, and brought the veteran in for a workout on Sept. 16. Bironas told friends he had a great audition and expected to get the job. Hahn had yet to hear either way from Detroit when Bironas died.

“I knew he felt like he could still kick,” Kern says. “He was struggling, but he had a support group—he kept training hard, he lost weight, he put a turf patch in his back yard and a net to kick in. He had bounced back and was ready for an opportunity.”

As much as Bironas had a support group to lean on, he was also there for his 8-year-old son from a previous relationship. The boy lives in New Jersey with his mother, and Bironas was trying to arrange for the child to spend more time in Louisville, a three-hour drive from Nashville, where the rest of Bironas’ family lives. “Rob was always showing us his [son’s] soccer and MMA videos,” Martin says. “He was stupid proud of him.”

Bironas flew his son out to Nashville when their schedules allowed, and he’d sometimes fly back to New Jersey with him so he didn’t have to travel alone. At the funeral, the boy went down the front row and hugged each of Bironas’ family members. Martin gave the boy’s mother the NFLPA card from the side of the road so he could have it when he grows up.

But will time yield any answers?

The missing person report says there had been no argument between Bironas and Rachel Bradshaw, an account that rings true to those who knew them. The couple met in 2012 on a Saturday night before a Titans home game. Beaming, Bironas returned to the team hotel and breathlessly told Kern, “I just met the woman I’m going to marry.” He and Rachel dated for two years before tying the knot in June. At least one of the oil-slicked CDs that Patrick Martin found the morning after the crash featured the music of Rachel Bradshaw.

Matt Hasselbeck, the former Titans quarterback and current backup in Indianapolis, immediately thought of alcohol when he heard of Bironas’ death. Then he started talking around and realized Bironas wasn’t the “weekend warrior” he had been in 2011.

“When I was there, Rob liked to have a good time,” Hasselbeck says. “Alcohol was part of his regular weekend routine, and that can be a dangerous thing. But I heard through mutual friends that he really cleaned up that part of his life. He got married. This is a guy who I knew to live on the edge, was over-caffeinated all the time, pushed the limit on weekends. But all of a sudden when he cleans up, this tragedy happens.”

None of the 10 friends interviewed by The MMQB suggested that Bironas had an alcohol problem. He drank, they said, but rarely in excess and always used a designated driver. Bironas’ father told the Tennessean on Tuesday that his son didn’t do drugs. “He was very anti-drugs, stimulants, that kind of thing,” Larry Bironas said. “It almost comes across as a psychotic problem; if there was a problem, of course we’re interested in it. If he got in that car and drove inebriated, of course I have a problem with that. But in his normal state of mind he would not get in a car and drive. He was good at that.”

“Rob didn’t do drugs,” Grenvicz says. “Unless he’s been hiding secrets from me for 11 years—I won’t even go there. Rob didn’t do drugs. This is so out of left field, so out of the universe we all lived in with Rob.”

Police said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol at the scene of the crash, but a toxicology report is expected to be completed within a week. If it turns out Bironas had been drinking, his friends will still have a difficult time understanding the alleged road-rage incidents. “Even if he got pile-driven drunk, you’ve got your buddies who are happy drunk and aggressive drunk,” Martin says. “Rob was the happy drunk. Never was aggressive.”

Two of Bironas’ close friends confirmed that he had a prescription for Ambien, given by doctors to insomnia sufferers. A short-acting hypnotic drug, Ambien’s adverse side effects can include dysphoria, delusions and hallucinations.

“I think some people think Ambien as a matter of deduction,” Martin says. “Ambien’s got such a history. This buddy of ours toured Europe and they were on a train, took Ambien, and the next morning they didn’t remember playing cards or getting arrested … Obviously, everybody is just trying to make sense of why he acted the way he acted.”

Grenvicz isn’t sure the toxicology report will necessarily tell the whole story. He wonders if the cause of the crash might be something simple and undetectable: What if he was texting? What if he had a stroke? What if he just fell asleep? Bironas’ friend would prefer to think about all the good times, about watching his friend realize his dream of kicking footballs on Sunday afternoons and then hurrying over to the Grenwicz house because they were fixing spaghetti.

“I lost my best friend and I don’t necessarily know why,” Grenvicz says. “But I do know that I’ll see him again and be able to ask him what happened, but at that point it probably won’t even matter.”

(Posted from mmqb.si.com)

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Rob Bironas’ dad refuses to let final hours define son (The Tennessean Online – 9.25.14)

Rob Bironas, the record-setting former Titans kicker whose life ended in a one-vehicle accident, was remembered as determined, generous, funny and beloved at a memorial service on Thursday.

A crowd of several hundred, including former teammates, prominent Nashvillians, and football fans, gathered to remember Bironas at the Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home. Though his athletic accomplishments were acknowledged, Bironas was celebrated foremost as a father, husband, son, brother and friend.

Questions remain about the final hours of Bironas’ life, when he apparently left his home without explanation Saturday night and then was involved in two road rage incidents between 10:30 and 11 p.m. before crashing his SUV on Battery Lane. He was 36.

Bironas’ father, Larry Bironas, said the family would not let the final 30 minutes of his son’s life define the former Titans kicker.

“Rest in heaven knowing that your image will not be tarnished,” Larry Bironas said at the memorial service. “Your friends and family will, over time, cleanse and heal this small snapshot that has tried to overshadow who you are. Rest in heaven assured that your family and friends will find answers and cleanse this short moment of your life.”

The elder Bironas vowed to continue his son’s legacy of community service and commitment to his family.

The crowd inside the main chapel was limited to family and close friends. Those not on the list of the 250 allowed in the main chapel were accommodated in a nearby overflow room. Others watched the memorial on a big-screen television set up on the lawn outside the building.

Bironas played nine seasons with the Titans (2005-2013).

Nikes and Chucks

Titans General Manager Ruston Webster, Executive Vice President Don MacLachlan and Vice President/Football Administration Vin Marino attended the service along with a large number of Bironas’ former teammates.

Keith Bulluck, Marc Mariani, Chris Hope, Zach Piller, Dave Ball, Donnie Nickey, Brett Kern, Beau Brinkley, Craig Hentrich, Eugene Amano, Ken Amato, Leroy Harris, Tim Shaw, Casey Cramer and Patrick Bailey were in attendance. Former Titans special teams coach Alan Lowry also attended, and former Titans General Manager Mike Reinfeldt was there.

Titans play-by-play man Mike Keith, who called all 11 of Bironas’ game-winning field goals, joined the mourners, along with Al Smith, formerly in player development with the team.

Country music’s Kellie Pickler and her husband, Kyle Jacobs, were there, and Christian singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith also attended.

Former NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip was there to show support for his friend, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, whose daughter Rachel married Bironas in June.

Rachel Bradshaw sat between her mother and father during the emotional service, her dress complemented with Nike running shoes. Several other female friends also wore Nikes. Bironas had an endorsement deal, and he wanted those around him wearing Nikes. On this day, they gladly obliged.

Bironas’ buddies wore Chuck Taylor sneakers with their suits, another look Bironas was known for, whether it was for a casual event or a black-tie affair.

At least a dozen of Bironas’ friends wore neckties that came straight from his closet. At one point during the ceremony, they all stood, and friend Joe Grenvicz looked at Bironas’ 8-year-old son, London, and told him they would all be there for him in the years ahead.

One of the most touching moments of the ceremony came when London stood up during a song and walked down the aisle to give his grandfather, Larry Bironas, a hug. Then he proceeded down the row, receiving one hug after another from family. It was an emotional scene that brought out the tissues and tears.

‘Everybody in this room loved Rob’

Before the memorial, family and friends talked quietly in the hallways at the funeral home. Pictures of Bironas decorated the walls, some from his days as a blond-headed kid growing up in Kentucky. Others showed him at Disney World with his son. There were multiple images of Bironas in his Titans uniform.

Bironas’ uniforms, the No. 2 he made famous, decorated the chapel inside. His Titans uniform, a Pro Bowl uniform and a throwback uniform were on display. So were blown-up pictures of Bironas with a big smile on his face. Game programs featuring Bironas on the cover, along with footballs, served as more reminders of his accomplishments.

He also was known by teammates, friends and family as a prankster. Grenvicz recalled how Bironas visited his office and introduced himself to strangers as an accountant or a landscaper.

Former teammate Michael Griffin said Bironas was especially skilled at hazing rookies, including throwing their clothes into the ice tub during practice.

“I don’t care what happened in the last 30 minutes of his life,” Grenvicz said. “There are a lot of good people in this room who wouldn’t be associated with something that was evil. And everybody in this room loved Rob, and I know that, and it makes me proud.”

The investigation into the crash is continuing, and police have said toxicology results would not be available for weeks.

(posted from The Tennessean)

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Titans Remember Franchise Great Rob Bironas (Titans Online – 9.25.14)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the day of his funeral, the Titans are remembering the life and career of former franchise kicker Rob Bironas, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 36.

A consistent player on the field and big participant in the greater Nashville community, Bironas is remembered as one of the greatest Titans who always remembered his roots and continually gave back to those in need.

“Rob made a significant impact as a player in his nine years with the team and more importantly touched many lives in the Nashville community off the field,” the Titans said following his death.

Bironas finished as the franchise’s second leading scorer with 1,032 points from 2005-13, providing consistency at the position with several clutch kicks and game-winning field goals. He was the fourth most-accurate kicker in NFL history, connecting on 85.7 percent of his kicks (239 of 279), made a franchise-record 11 game-winning field goals and booted a 60-yarder — the longest in team history — to beat the Colts at LP Field in 2006.

In addition, he kicked an NFL single-game record eight field goals in a 2007 victory over the Houston Texans, including a 29-yarder as time expired, to help him earn Associated Press All-Pro honors and his only Pro Bowl berth that season. Bironas also tied the franchise record with 20 consecutive field goals during the 2012 season. He reached the mark twice before in his career to tie the record originally set by Al Del Greco from 1998-99.

Not only did Bironas excel on the football field, he was one of the team’s community all-stars off the field, taking part in numerous charitable events in the greater Nashville area and his home state of Kentucky. He started the Rob Bironas Fund in 2008 to help give back to those in need.

“I put a lot of time and energy into the community and really enjoy meeting a lot of great people and taking part in the various community events,” he said the day he signed his contract extension in 2013. “That’s something I’ll continue to be involved in and look forward to doing.”

Bironas went to Auburn and transferred to Georgia Southern, where he won a Division I-AA national title. He went to work for his father’s company in Louisville, Kentucky, and was cut by Green Bay in 2002. He played in the Arena Football League and even the AF2 while spending time in training camps with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh working as a part-time security guard and other jobs while trying to stick with an NFL team.

He finally won a roster spot with the Titans in 2005.

“To play in the NFL,” he said in 2006, “was the ultimate goal.”

The shocking news of his death hit home to his former teammates and others around Nashville.

“It’s one of those things that gives you perspective,” QB Jake Lockersaid. “It reminds you to be thankful for the people in your life. Rob was a charismatic guy that always brought smiles to people’s faces around the building. It’s tough to see it happen to someone so young, who was just recently married. You feel for him and his loved ones that are left behind.”

Cornerback Jason McCourty echoed Locker’s comments as he remembered his former teammate.

“I remember a guy who was positive, a guy who was upbeat and always trying to bring a smile to his teammates around him,” McCourty said. “It’s just crazy. Less than a year ago he was on that team with us. He was taking the field with us, traveling with us. To think a guy so young and not far removed from being one of us has passed away, it’s tough because you feel like at any moment that could be you. You feel like it could be one of your brothers that’s passed away. It’s tough to deal with, but you just have to know God has a plan and there will be some positive to come from it and you just have to believe in him.”

Punter Brett Kern, who served as the holder for Bironas on field goals and extra points for five seasons, maintained a close friendship with his former teammate in recent months.

“I want to honor him, the legacy that he had here — the man that he was, the father that he was and the husband that he was, the family guy that he was,” Kern said the night of his memorial in Nashville.

Long snapper Beau Brinkley said Bironas helped advance his NFL career.

“He was a big part of my life — and I wasn’t very good coming in as a snapper — and if it wouldn’t have been for him I probably wouldn’t even be here today,” Brinkley said. “He has made a very influential mark on me, as well as my family.”

Safety Michael Griffin, who played seven seasons with Bironas, wrote this on Twitter just hours after his passing: “I can’t tell you how many games he won for us over my seven years with him, but I can tell you he was a great teammate, father, husband and friend. May your soul rest in peace and prayers go out to your family. #RIP Rob Bironas.”

(posted from Titans Online)

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Rob Bironas Fund to Continue Charitable Legacy

Nashville, Tennessee. – Rob Bironas founded The Rob Bironas Fund, a component fund of the The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, in 2008 with a desire to raise and distribute support to causes that have children at the center of their missions. The Fund makes grants with guidelines supported by five “keystones” which were taken from Bironas’ own approach to his kicking career and life. These are: discipline, focus, preparation, overcoming adversity, and recovering from mistakes.

Since 2008, tens of thousands of dollars have been distributed to pay for musical instruments for children who otherwise could not afford them, as well as grant wishes for Make-A-Wish children, among others. The Fund will continue supporting a broad array of children’s causes in Middle Tennessee.

To make a donation:

Make contributions online at www.cfmt.org or donations can be mailed to:

The Rob Bironas Fund
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue
Nashville, TN 37215

About The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees nearly 1,000 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 23 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $684 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939or visit www.cfmt.org.

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Bironas Family Announces Funeral Arrangements

Nashville, TN – (September 22, 2014) – The family of former Titans Placekicker, Rob Bironas, announces funeral arrangements.

Visitation will be held at the Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home located at 660 Thompson Lane in Nashville on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 from 5pm-8pm. Funeral Services will be held at the same location on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 2:30pm.

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