Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard said he expected the Cowboys to “knock my head off” after he paid homage to Terrell Owens on Monday night with his game-changing interception by celebrating on the star at AT&T Stadium.
Byard’s first-quarter interception of Dak Prescott in the end zone came after the Cowboys recovered Marcus Mariota’s second fumble of the game. He then sprinted to the star at midfield and began dancing on it when he was joined by some of his teammates.
Owens took notice on Twitter.
Byard said he came up with the idea to run to the star at the team hotel when he was thinking of ways to celebrate a big play.
“… It was really just to show the team that we are not scared,” he told reporters. “We are here to play ball. We are here to win the game. I made the play, and I ran straight to the 50-yard line. It was kind of off the wall a little bit.”
In the 2000 season, Owens, then a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, was crushed by Cowboys safety George Teague after celebrating a touchdown on the star for the second time in a game. His first such touchdown celebration went unpunished by the Cowboys.
Byard said he expected to receive a similar blow on Monday.
“I was actually expecting somebody to knock my head off. Then we just started dancing. I was like, if we get to the 50, if we get enough guys to the 50, we are just going to start dancing on the star,” he said.
The Cowboys’ Byron Jones eventually disrupted the celebration by pushing Byard and his Titans teammates off the star.
“There’s no reason for them to disrespect the star like that,” Jones said after the Titans defeated the Cowboys 28-14. “You can have fun out there. I understand celebrate, but you overstep the boundaries when you go on the star.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said on Tuesday that he wasn’t happy with Byard’s celebration.
“That’s not what we want as an organization,” he said. “That’s not what I want as a head coach. I want our guys to play as hard as they possibly can, for each other, between the whistles, as physical, as aggressive, as clean as they possibly can.
“I get that there’s things that cross the line between whistles. Once the whistle blows, celebrate with a teammate. Find somebody else in a Titans uniform. Find a coach. Celebrate with them. But we don’t need to do that. That’s what we want to do. I talked to Kevin this morning. I’ll talk to the team again tomorrow. That goes for a lot of guys. That’s not what I want. If that’s what they want, then we see it very differently.”
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