Tennessee Titans: Roger McCreary’s devotion to baked beans lives on

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NASHVILLE — For any player, an NFL rookie camp can be very difficult to stomach.

This is an introduction to an NFL playbook. A schedule of NFL meetings. An NFL weight room. New coaches. New trainers. New teammates. New environment. And all of this is presented in a relatively short period with the expectation that participants will adapt quickly.

Cornerback Roger McCreary is the one who has done his best to soak it all up in recent days as one of the newest members of the Tennessee Titans.

He even did his best to get a feel for a new nutrition plan, which he plans to put into practice.

Until game days this fall, that is. Auburn’s second-round pick claimed after the Titans selected him 35th overall (fifth among all cornerbacks) in the 2022 NFL Draft that he typically eats two full plates of baked beans ( in particular, Bush’s Baked Beans) before taking the field.

On Saturday, after the second session on the rookie field, he reaffirmed his commitment to this culinary ritual.

“I’m not giving them up – I wouldn’t say that,” McCreary said. “I’m trying to improve my diet and everything, but I’m not giving up beans.”

It may seem reckless at first, but there’s reason to believe that the team’s coaching and nutrition staff won’t necessarily discourage him in this regard.

Baked beans are a good source of fiber and plant protein as well as other vitamins and minerals that can inhibit inflammation, which seems beneficial for a professional soccer player. They can also aid digestion and lower cholesterol.

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The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends an average of 1 1/2 cups of legumes (baked beans are typically prepared with navy beans, which are a legume) as part of an average daily diet of 2,000 calories. A professional athlete like McCreary undoubtedly needs more calories than that, which means his acceptable amount of baked beans would also be higher.

If he fills up on game days and avoids baked beans the rest of the week, what’s the harm? Especially if he feels it improves his performance.

The Titans defense made national headlines several years ago when several players, led by then linebacker Derrick Morgan and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, switched to a plant-based diet because thought it helped their performance. However, none of them ever expressed a devotion to baked beans.

McCreary didn’t go into detail about the dietary changes he’s implementing or whether he plans to eliminate animal-based protein altogether. He was clear about his willingness to do what is necessary to become an important part of a unit that finished last season 25th in pass defense and 18th in yards allowed per passing play.

“I got drafted in the second round – that doesn’t mean anything,” McCreary said. “…It’s just me trying to get better.

“…I just want to show that I am a competitor, that I come here to compete and everything. I’m just trying to improve myself. I’m not at my best, so I’m going to keep working no matter what.

That includes adjustments to the food he uses to fuel his 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame, especially now that he has to adjust to the physical demands of professional play.

“I’m just trying a new diet, trying to eat a little healthier,” McCreary said. “I’m trying to stay away from baked beans for a while.”

But not definitely.

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