Titans lined up for speed at ILB with Azeez Al-Shaair

Azeez Al-Shaair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – David Long was replaced within 24 hours as the Titans agreed to terms with their first Ran Carthon connection, Azeez Al-Shaair, the inside linebacker who’s been a piece of the 49ers’ strong defense.

Dianna Russini reported the agreement.

Al-Shaair will bring excellent speed to Nashville – something Mike Vrabel has emphasized he wants upgraded throughout the roster. The new inside linebacker will be 26 this season. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder was undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2019. 

He should help the team cover tight ends and running backs. He could be paired with Monty Rice or the two could be mixed and matched with a player deemed more of a run-down player. Others on the roster now are Chance Campbell, Jack Gibbens and Luke Gifford another played they agreed to terms with Tuesday.

Pro Football Focus rated Long 14th among inside backers last season with Al-Shaair 18th. They were both weakest in coverage where Long graded out at 62.9 and Al-Shaair at 61.

In his final year with the 49ers, he only played 143 coverage snaps (compared to 446 for Long) but per Sports Info Solutions he allowed two completions on four targets for 18 yards.

Al-Shaair missed five games in 2022 with an MCL injury. Over four seasons he’s played in 56 games and started 31.  

“He has some upside to his game because of his limited starts,” Blake Beddingfield said.

Al-Shaair overcame quite a bit to make it to the NFL and earn a second contract, the financial details of which remain unreported.

He's got seven siblings, and they all moved in with their grandmother in Tampa, Fla. in 2012 because of financial struggles. He led his family to safety one night after smelling smoke and they watched the house burn down. After shuffling around they wound up housed in a long-term motel, and he spent two hours a day on a bus to get to school and football practice, often eating just once a day.

The Titans are also in line to add Gifford, another inside linebacker who’s got great athleticism.

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