Tennessee Titans wide receiver Cody Hollister is set to enter his fourth season in Nashville in 2022. Hollister originally joined the Titans in May of 2019 and has continuously left a stellar impression on general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel. When the team suffered an abundance of injuries at the position last season, Hollister helped stabilize the position by earning steady play time throughout November and December. With changes afloat in the receiver room throughout the offseason, Hollister is a familiar face for receivers coach Rob Moore to work alongside with.
Hollister recently spoke exclusively with Broadway Sports regarding his ongoing journey as a Titan, competing for a roster spot, reacting to the significant changes at receiver this offseason, and so much more.
JM: What a journey it’s been for you in the midst of your fourth offseason in Tennessee. What’s your mindset like as you get ready for training camp?
CH: I’ve had the same mindset essentially every offseason. I always say I’m going to put my best foot forward and give it my all. I’ll leave the rest with the Lord. I’ll control the things I can control, and that’s working hard and studying hard. I’m going to do everything I can and I’ll let go of the rest. I’m currently working my butt off at Boss Sports Performance in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, which is owned by former New York Giants tight end Kevin Boss. I’m doing everything I can to be at my best. I leave the rest up to the Lord. I just want to help the team in some fashion. That’s my mindset every year. I’m just looking for a role on this team that allows me to help them win games.
JM: You originally signed with the Titans back in May of 2019. You got your start in the league as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots in 2017. When you think back to that first stint in 2019, did you think Tennessee was the place where you’d find some stability?
CH: I’ve honestly never had a moment to really consider that. In this business, your mindset is always a day-to-day or week-to-week thing. A building like the Patriots, and this Titans building, I’ve been very fortunate to be in these two buildings because it’s very much a “earn what you have” environment. The moment you walk through those doors, they don’t care about what you did before you got here. It’s a day-to-day, “earn-it” type of opportunity.
I learned that from guys like Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Matthew Slater. All of those guys in New England showed me firsthand what it meant to earn an opportunity every single day. I learned that quickly as a rookie. For me, I couldn’t ever think about the long-term. I just wanted to earn the respect of my teammates. I want to work my butt off and I never think long-term. Tomorrow is a new opportunity.
I never think about the future. I just want to be considered a hard working guy every single day. I want to be known as a fighter. It’s more of a day-to-day thing for me. Like you said, I’ve been there for three-and-a-half years now, going on four years. I feel very blessed.
JM: We love your mindset. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout all the ups and downs?
CH: My brothers and I [Cody is the twin brother of Raiders tight end Jacob Hollister] have a motto in life that goes “no quit.” That’s been the testament to our story. There are going to be ups and downs. Even Philippians 4:13 discusses the highs and lows of life. It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That’s what my brothers and I live through with our “no quit” motto.
There’s always going to be highs and lows. As a professional athlete, the “no quit” mindset states that regardless of what happens, quitting isn’t an option. I’ve been through injuries. I’ve been demoted. I’ve been cut five times, technically six times. All of these things have happened to me. There’s never been a fleeting thought in my mind that maybe the journey is over. It’s always okay Lord, I know you’re going to open another door for me.
The expectation always has to be there. That next opportunity is going to come, even if it manifests itself in an unexpected manner. Things may not always happen exactly how you think they will. The thought of quitting never became reality for me or my brothers. That’s the greatest lesson that still holds true for me. It’s the “no quit” mindset. It holds true to perseverance and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
JM: Your approach is incredible. When you compare your first stint in Tennessee to today, a lot has changed within the franchise. What’s the biggest change you’ve personally noticed?
CH: That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say it’s a big change, but we have such a stable business culture in place. Whenever people ask me about the Titans or the NFL in general, I always tell them each team is its own separate entity and business. It’s just like any other business. There’s going to be leadership. There’s going to be workers and co-workers. You have authority. Within our structure, from the top down, from the owner to the general manager, head coach, assistant coaches, players, scouts, training staff, there’s such a healthy business structure here.
To be in this building, I respect and encourage it. That’s what I tell people. It’s a great culture of football. It’s all about hard work and work ethic. I can’t say that every team in the league really instills that. The Titans are a program that honors hard work, character, dedication, effort and finish. That’s my recipe. I’m about what they’re about, what we’re about. It’s the perfect environment for me.
I wouldn’t say that’s something that’s changed since I’ve been here, but I have seen it get stronger with each passing year.
JM: That’s an excellent point. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but you’re now the longest tenured receiver on the Titans. Nobody else has been there since 2019 like you have. What goes through your mind when you realize that?
CH: That’s crazy (laughs). I’ve had such an up-and-down time in Tennessee. We call it ups and downs, but it’s really all ups, because any adversity I’ve faced has been nothing but a growing experience. It’s crazy to hear that [longest tenured receiver], man (laughs).
I’ve had to grind my butt off every single year, and this year won’t be any different. I work like I’ve never even been here before. That’s an every year experience for me. I have no skin of the game because I’m literally going out there like it’s my first season. It definitely gives you more confidence, though. I think that’s the case for any veteran that’s been blessed enough to be in the same place for four years. I’m entering a building I’m comfortable with.
It starts to become less about self and more about team. In the beginning, coming in as a rookie, you’re definitely only focused on yourself because everything is new and you’re trying to prove yourself. How can I survive and make this team? (laughs). You’re trying to earn everybody’s respect. You’re trying to learn everyone’s name.
The more you’re in a building, and this is my fourth year here, my eyes begin to look at other guys and how I can help and encourage the players and coaches even. It becomes less about self and more about team. It’s ironic because in a way, it helps you. You begin to help other guys and focus on the team more, and in turn, conceptually, it helps yourself.
It’s become a very cool and good situation for me. I’ve been here, and now I can encourage the guys around me and see things through more of a team-first perspective than that first-year player that has the me mentality because everything is so new and maybe scary. It’s not a me-first thing.
JM: On that topic, you mentioned some of the veterans that helped you when you were a rookie with the Patriots in 2017. You had veterans like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to help show you the ropes. How are you passing that knowledge onto the likes of Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips as you continue to grow increasingly comfortable with this organization?
CH: Just like Edelman, Amendola, Chris Hogan and Matthew Slater did for me, the greatest thing they ever told me was that actions speak louder than words. It’s about the work. They showed me how to work and what it meant. Whether that was lifting in the weight room or a sprint at practice, those guys did everything to the best of their ability all the time.
It was less about what they told me, and more about what they showed me (laughs). I had to put the work in. I had to respect my coach. Am I listening in meetings? I even had Tom Brady as a teammate during my first season. I was so aware of how Brady carried himself and how he took notes. I thrived under that leadership. If a guy like Brady is listening to coaching with such attentiveness, then I better do that, too.
It’s more about setting a good example for those guys. I care less about being the most talented guy in the position room (laughs). I want my teammates to look at me and say, “Man, that guy is a fighter and he works his butt off.” That’s the best example I can set. That most represents the Lord. I hope that’s what the young guys see when they look at me. I hope it rubs off on them. Whoever you are, be who you are, but be a hard worker. I want every ounce of talent to come out of every single receiver in our room, and that goes for everybody on the team.
JM: It’s all about setting the right example. You understand this is a business. You’ve lived through that multiple times. What was your reaction like to the A.J. Brown trade?
CH: Honestly, I never really know what’s happening on the business side (laughs). I let my agent handle that. I’m all about football. When it comes to everybody else, Jon [Robinson], Vrabes [Vrabel] and [owner] Ms. Amy [Adams Strunk] are going to handle that stuff. I couldn’t tell you, honestly. I was surprised by the trade because I don’t know the business side of it. Seeing the business, the way it played out, I was happy that A.J. got a big contract in Philadelphia. I can’t say that the details surprised me, but I’m happy for A.J. from a contract perspective. I hope he’s happy over there. It’s hard for me because I don’t involve myself in the business side. I just keep my head down and grind (laughs).
JM: You’ve mentioned your brothers a few times throughout this conversation. You won a Super Bowl with your brother Jacob Hollister as a member of the Patriots. What was that experience like?
CH: Man, that was incredible. Our first year together in New England , we lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. We were still together the next season and we won the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams. I didn’t play in either year. My first year , I was on the practice squad, but my brother Jacob played. That was incredible. My second season, the year we won the Super Bowl, I had back surgery and I was on the NFI list all year long. My brother played that season as well.
I wasn’t playing, but I was practicing with the team and recovering from my back injury when we won the Super Bowl in my second season. That experience was incredible. I was in the middle of a Super Bowl-branded field when we won. I was with my teammates. Jacob and I looked at each other and said, “Man, God really brought us from Bend, Oregon to here,” (laughs).
As an athlete, we’re always focused on the next thing or the next goal. We’re competitors at the end of the day, so what we have never feels like enough. In those Super Bowl moments, we actually took a moment to thank the Lord for the opportunities he’s provided us with. You don’t get a lot of those moments where you take a step back and soak it in. We didn’t think about what was next. We were enjoying what we prayed for. It was greater than we could have imagined.
Those moments, I still look back on those two seasons and think it’s absolutely crazy. Our stories [Jacob] really intertwined like that. It was written. It doesn’t seem crazy until I’m on the phone with somebody like you and you bring it up (laughs). It makes me go, “That’s pretty nuts, isn’t it?” (laughs).
JM: I absolutely love that story (laughs). We’ve appreciated your time today. In closing, what are your goals for training camp and the preseason as you prepare for another position battle?
CH: A very broad goal of mine is to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. It sounds very subjective but that’s honestly what it is. I can honestly handle losing as long as I put my best foot forward. I can’t handle losing when I beat myself (laughs). If somebody beats me because they’re better than me, I can totally live with that. If somebody beats me because I beat myself, I can’t live with that. I want to win. Whether that’s a game or a job, I want to win. That’s always the goal.
I want to help this team while carving out a role for myself. It has to be something that collectively helps us as a unit. From the top down, everybody has to play a role and I want to be a part of this machine moving forward (laughs). That’s all I want. I want to be a part of this family. I want to be a viable piece that helps this team win.
That’s my goal. I want the coaches to say Cody Hollister helps this team. Whatever that is, I welcome it. I can block, I can play special teams, I can run routes and catch footballs. Whatever it is, I want to contribute. That’s my goal. I’m going to be the best Cody Hollister I can be. I want to help this team.