On Father’s Day, Rodger Saffold reflects upon family, football lessons learned before dad passed

By John Glennon

    Only hours before he was set to take the field against the New Orleans Saints, Rodger Saffold placed his usual call to Dad.

    The pre-game chat and pep talk had long been a ritual for the two, dating back to the days when father used to drive his young son to contests all over Ohio. But on this occasion, in November of 2018, the phone call carried devastating news.

    The elder Saffold revealed he’d suffered a significant stroke, one that had left him bed-ridden, paralyzed on his right side.

    “He’d been trying to keep it from me because, you know, dads try to protect you from everything, just deal with it themselves,” said Saffold, the Titans’ starting left guard. “But when he told me that, I just found myself getting increasingly angry.

    “I ended up fighting with one of the (Saints’) defensive linemen during the game, my first fight ever on the field. I got fined, I got penalized, it was a mess. But of course, everybody understood.”

    Everybody included Los Angeles coach Sean McVay, as Saffold was still with the Rams at that time. McVay told Saffold after the game that if he needed to go home to see his father, just do it – no . . .

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