Titans Trade For Falcons Receiver Julio Jones

Photo: By Alison P. McNabb/Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons to trade for wide receiver Julio Jones, pending a physical.

The full terms include the Titans trading their 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to Atlanta in exchange for Jones and a sixth-round pick in 2023.

Jones, a seven-time Pro-Bowler, is a massive addition for the Titans, who finished 2nd in the NFL in total offense a year ago but lost top performers in receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith earlier this offseason in free agency.

Jones was a first-round pick (sixth overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. He established himself as one of the premier wide receivers in college football at the University of Alabama. In 40 games, he caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards with 15 touchdowns and accumulated 3,084 all-purpose yards.

A 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, Jones has 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns in his 10-year career, on 848 catches. He’s caught over 100 passes in three of his seasons, and he had at least 80 catches and 1,300 yards in every year from 2014-19, with an average of 104 receptions for 1,565 yards during that time period.

Jones is Atlanta’s all-time career leader in receptions (848), receiving yards (12,896) and 100-yard receiving games (58), and his 60 touchdown receptions rank second.

With an average of 95.5 receiving yards per game through 135 career games, Jones ranks first in NFL history, topping Calvin Johnson’s previous record of 86.1 receiving yards per game. His 12,896 career receiving yards already place him 20th in league annals. Jones’ 58 career 100-yard receiving games put him fourth all-time behind Jerry Rice (76), Randy Moss (64) and Marvin Harrison (59). Among all players in NFL history with at least 848 career catches, only Moss’ 15.6-yard average ranks higher than Jones’ average of 15.2 yards per reception.

Texas Rangers Announce Class Of 2021 For Charley Pride Fellowship Program

Charley Pride. Photo: Ben De Rienzo

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation has announced the inaugural class for the Charley Pride Fellowship Program, offering rising college students a ten-week internship opportunity with the team’s front office.

The new Fellowship Program honors the late country music legend, who had a strong connection to the Texas Rangers organization for more than 50 years. The details of the program were in the process of being finalized when Pride passed away in December of 2020 at the age of 86. The creation of the program was announced on March 18, 2021 on what would have been Pride’s 87th birthday.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Parrish Charitable Foundation of prominent Dallas businessman Roland Parrish are partnering on the Charley Pride Fellowship Program. The initiative was also created with input from Pride’s family, including his wife Rozene Pride.

The Charley Pride Fellowship Program was established to help create a launching pad for students from diverse backgrounds looking to gain baseball front office experience. The program is designed for the students to gain valuable cross-disciplinary skills that will benefit them should they choose to pursue a career in professional baseball or any other industry.

The inaugural Charley Pride Fellowship Program Class of 2021:

Charley Pride Fellow: Hometown; Year; School

Kendall Coleman: Rockwall, TX; Junior; University of North Carolina

Ashley Go: Vienna, VA; Senior; American University

Cornysia Island: Lancaster, TX; Junior; Fisk University

Neemekh Mudvari: Puebla, Mexico; Senior; University of Texas at Arlington

Jordan Thomas: New Orleans, LA; Grad Student; Temple University

The Foundation will train and support the five Fellows as they transition through a ten-week rotation within different Texas Rangers Baseball Club departments. Each Fellow will do a three-department rotation based on their interests while working approximately 20 hours per week.

Those departments available for these fellows to work include, IT Operations & Applications, Sports & Entertainment, Baseball Operations, Partnerships & Client Services, Communications, Marketing, Ballpark Entertainment, Promotions & Production, Ticket Sales & Service, and Business Analytics & Ticket Strategy.

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Adds Partnership & Sponsor

Pictured L-R Top: Brooks & Dunn and Jamey Johnson. Bottom: Tyler Farr and Vince Neil.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix adds Wesley Financial Group as presenting sponsor for the Grand Prix’ opening day Friday, August 6. The announcement comes days after the Grand Prix joined three other Nashville institutions in support of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University.

The Wesley Financial Group Freedom Friday concert will honor members of the military, police, fire, first responders, and frontline heroes. That night’s Freedom Friday Tribute Concert: Music City’s Best Honor All Those Who Serve and Protect will feature special guest appearances by several of Nashville’s top artists, including Brooks & Dunn, Jamey Johnson, Tyler Farr and Vince Neil. Aside from providing thousands of tickets to members of those groups, that night’s concert will bring awareness to military charities, including the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at MTSU.

“Wesley Financial Group is proud to be a part of one of Nashville’s first big events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Chuck McDowell, founder and CEO. “We are especially excited to be able to honor our military and first responders and provide tickets to those who protect us every day. The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix is a landmark event for our city and we look forward to being a part of it.”

On Saturday, Grand Prix CEO Matt Crews, a MTSU alumnus, joined retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior advisor for veterans and leadership initiatives, for the announcement from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry during the sold-out Opry Salute the Troops show.

Pictured L-R: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix CEO Matt Crews, a MTSU alumnus, retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior advisor for veterans and leadership initiatives, and MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes pose for a photo outside the Grand Ole Opry before Saturday’s sold-out Opry Salute the Troops show in Nashville, Tenn. Photo: by James Cessna/MTSU

The Grand Prix joins the Opry, the Nashville Predators and the Nashville Sounds to help the approximately 1,100 military connected students at MTSU who are “seeking academic success and quality employment.”

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Wesley Financial Group to honor the frontline heroes who serve and protect us on a daily basis – and excited to announce our Freedom Friday line-up,” says Crews. “Our hope is this performance shows a small token of appreciation to those in the service that work so hard to allow us to live lives of freedom– and enjoy events like this year’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.”

Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, a three-day international festival of speed and sound, will be staged on a temporary 2.17-mile grand prix circuit in Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus. The course will cross the Cumberland River via the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge, making it the only current event in motorsports to cross over a major body of water.

Nashville SC Partners With LGBT Chamber of Commerce To Celebrate Pride Night

Nashville Soccer Club and the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce will join forces to celebrate Pride Month by hosting the official NSC Pride Night on Saturday, June 26, as the club takes on CF Montréal at Nissan Stadium at 7:30 p.m. CT.

“To have the ability to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ community with this initiative is extremely special for our organization,” says Nashville SC Senior Director of Community Engagement Brandon Hill. “Our club and our league believe that Soccer is for all regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. We are committed to being the most inclusive of all sports leagues in North America and this initiative is a great opportunity to show our support.”

NSC is launching a Pride Patch which can be bought on the team’s website with proceeds benefitting the LGBT Chamber of Commerce. This year’s Nashville Soccer Club Pride Patch, designed in collaboration with the LGBT chamber, is an innovative spin on celebrating June as Pride Month with the distinct flavor of Nashville.

The design honors the history of the traditional rainbow colors of the Pride Flag while also incorporating the colors of the newly designed “inclusive flag” – representing the commitment to racial equity, the transgender community and honoring the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride patches are now on sale, giving fans and supporters alike the opportunity to purchase the Pride Patch through Wednesday, June 30.

“We are so proud of our member Nashville SC on their dedicated and intentional work on incision and diversity,” says Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “From the moment they formed they have been focused on making everyone feel welcomed and a part of the team. Soccer and all sports should be for everyone, and Nashville SC makes it clear they are. We love that the Pride patch is available for people to show their pride and support of the team and the community, and the LGBT Chamber Foundation is so honored to accept the funds and have them advance our educational and community-building initiatives.”

Fans will be able to purchase a Pride Bundle Package which includes: a ticket to the match in the Pride Section and a game-day poster. For each package purchased, a $5 donation will go to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Nashville SC’s special Section 615 will host guests from the LGBT Chamber and the Oasis Center Just Us program, which helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth to achieve their full potential. The club will also recognize a leader in the LGBT Community as the 2021 pride Ambassador and Hyundai Hero of the Match.

Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic Returns In June

After a year’s hiatus, the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic returns for its 17th year with music, dinner, and more on June 11-12 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The 16th annual classic in 2019 raised $1.3 million and pushed the event’s historical total to $13.7 million, funds used to build and operate OK Kids Korral, the cost-free home for families of children being treated at Oklahoma City area hospitals.

Live auction items include an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am experience, a trip to Iceland, a “Mega Hog Hunt” in Texas, chance for two to play in the 2021 Lexus Champions For Charity tournament, autographed items from Tom Brady, an electric guitar signed by Fleetwood Mac and custom items including a table, rifle and shotgun.

Silent auction items include a personalized video from the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, along with a deluxe assortment of Carlo’s Bakery sweets; items from Chip and Joanna GainesBlake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Van Halen, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert and Clay Walker; and sports memorabilia from Roger Clemens, David Ortiz, Cal Ripken Jr, Troy Aikman and Brett Favre.

Among the local favorites also supporting with auction items are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Grain & Grange, Lorec Ranch, Shangri-La Resort, Winstar Casino, Oklahoma Joe’s smoker and tattoo artist Scott Huttenmaier.

The double shotgun golf tournament starts Saturday at Keith’s Belmar Golf Club, and its 54 teams are already sold out. In partnership with Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson, the winner of the closest to the pin shootout will take home a new Harley-Davidson Street Bob motorcycle.

Silent auction bidding is open to the public and begins online June 5.

Predators Sign Juuso Parssinen To Three-Year, Entry-Level Contract

Juuso Parssinen. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have signed 2019 seventh-round pick Juuso Parssinen to a three-year entry-level contract.

The 20-year-old forward has just completed his second full season in the Finnish Liiga with Turun Palloseura (TPS) helping lead the team to the Liiga Final.

The young hockey player began the season as a 19-year-old, serving as an alternate captain for TPS and went on to skate in a career-high 55 games, posting 42 points (8 goals/34 assists), the second-most on his team.

Among all Liiga skaters, the 6-foot-3, 198-pound center was fifth in assists (34) and tied for 11th in points; he topped all U-21 players in the league in points and assists and was tied for eighth in goals (8). During his team’s 13-game run to the Liiga Final, Parssinen’s seven assists and eight points tied for second and tied for fourth, respectively, out of all skaters.

The Hämeenlinna, Finland, native also represented his country in the 2021 World Junior Championship in Edmonton, where he took home a bronze medal. He finished the tournament with four points (2g-2a), tied for the fifth-most among all Finnish skaters.

Originally drafted by the Predators in the seventh round (210th overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, Parssinen has skated in 93 career Liiga games since making his pro debut in 2018-19, posting 55 points (14 goals/41 assists). He’s spent his entire hockey career within the TPS system and played three seasons with its U-20 side from 2017-20, serving as an assistant captain twice.

In addition to skating on Finland’s 2021 World Juniors team, Parssinen competed in the 2019 U-18 World Championship and the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He also competed in the 2019 Spengler Cup with TPS.

Titans Hire Mical Johnson As First Female Scouting Assistant Among Other Additions

Mical Johnson. Photo: By Donald Page/Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans have named Mical Johnson as a full-time scouting assistant, the first woman to do so for the organization. Johnson’s hire comes alongside multiple other additions to the Titans’ football staff.

Johnson played for the Belmont Bruins tennis team from 2015 to 2019. She later served as the Amy Adams Strunk Women in Football intern where she helped put the advanced reports together for the coaches during the 2020 season for the team’s weekly opponent. Johnson will work in both college and pro scouting, evaluating players, monitoring the daily waiver wire, and assisting in the preparation for free agency and the NFL Draft.

Mical Johnson with the Belmont tennis team in 2018. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics.

The Titans also announced the addition of Blaise Taylor as a pro scout and Matt Miller as a college scout, transitioning from their previous roles as scouting assistants. Taylor’s focus will be involved in advance scouting for upcoming opponents, as well as evaluating potential free agents for the free agency period every spring. Miller will have a region of colleges to visit, evaluate, and gather information on prospects for the annual NFL Draft. Both will retain portions of their previous roles as scouting assistants.

Kiara Mayo has accepted this year’s Amy Adams Strunk Women in Football Training Camp internship in Scouting and Operations. She is currently a graduate student at Belmont University and will begin during training camp.

Titans GM Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel created the offseason internship program, adding a role on Vrabel’s coaching staff, and a spot on Robinson’s personnel staff that would also be dedicated to women after attending the Women’s Careers in Football Program. They called it the ‘Amy Adams Strunk Women in Sports Program,’ named after the team’s controlling owner.

The organization also hired Kylan Butler as the Bill Walsh Offensive Fellowship Coach for the upcoming season. He previously served as the offensive coordinator at Morehead State in Kentucky. Butler will work with all of the skill positions on the offense, including quarterbacks.

Chris Janson To Perform Pre-Race Concert At Ally 400

Chris Janson

Chris Janson is set to perform the pre-race concert at the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway on June 20.

Janson, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, will display his high-octane, multi-instrumental talents while performing his No. 1 hits on a stage near the start-finish line between the morning Cup Series qualifying session at 10:05 a.m. and the afternoon “Ally 400” at 2:30 p.m.

“I’m super thrilled to be performing at the NASCAR Cup Series pre-race concert at Nashville Superspeedway on June 20th,” says Janson. “I’m pumped to have NASCAR back in Nashville for the first time in 10 years with a sold out crowd. I can’t think of a better combination than racing fans & country music fans. It will be a glorious day!”

Janson took home the award for ACM Video of the Year for his Gold-certified, inspiring hit song “Drunk Girl,” which also earned the Song of the Year title at the 2018 Music Row Awards. His chart-topping, triple-Platinum smash “Buy Me A Boat” earned the iHeartRadio Music Awards Country Song of the Year. Janson’s No. 1 hits include multi-week chart topper “Done,” “Good Vibes,” “Fix a Drink,” and his current single, “Waitin’ On 5,” can be heard now on the airwaves.

“As Middle Tennessee’s home track for NASCAR Cup Series racing, we understand the importance of infusing the heart of Music City into our events,” says Erik Moses, Nashville Superspeedway’s president. “We’re thrilled that Chris Janson will bring his special brand of entertainment to our Father’s Day race weekend and are certain our fans from across the state and around the country will enjoy his show before America’s best drivers take the green flag for the Ally 400.”

Tickets are available for Nashville Superspeedway’s first two races on its Father’s Day weekend slate, including the “Tennessee Lottery 250” NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, June 19 (2:30 p.m. CT, NBCSN) and the “Rackley Roofing 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race under the lights on Friday, June 18 (7 p.m. CT, FS1).

This will be the first Cup Series race in Middle Tennessee in 37 years. Grandstand gates open at 9 a.m. on Father’s Day. The race can be watched on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. CT.