NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee assistant defensive line coach Nick Eason will be leaving the Titans for a day to attend the funeral of a close family friend.
Bennie Brown Sr., the grandfather of Eason's two daughters, died Oct. 25 hours before Brown was scheduled to attend the Falcons-Titans game in Nashville. Eason will be leaving Nov. 6 for the funeral in Georgia and rejoining the Titans on Nov. 7 in New Orleans.
"It's been a crazy whirlwind for me this week," Eason said.
He had given the family a tour of the Titans' headquarters before joining the team for meetings. Around 2 a.m. Sunday, Eason woke up to his cellphone ringing with Brown's wife calling for help. Eason rushed to their room and helped with CPR before the 71-year-old man from Vidalia, Georgia was rushed to a hospital where he died.
Eason had to break the news to his daughters about their grandfather and then went to coach the game. Tennessee lost 10-7 to Atlanta.
"I felt almost numb on the sidelines at the game because they were supposed to be there," Eason said. "I gave them sideline passes and not only that but to turn around ... and see my seats empty where him, his wife and my two daughters were supposed to be sitting ... that's been just really tough."
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said Friday there's no question it's been a tough week for his assistant.
"He's a good young coach, and it means a lot to him. But it really comes down to a personal decision as to whether you can handle it," Whisenhunt said. "He played in this league for a long time, so he has that mental toughness. I certainly respect the fact that he was able to do that. It was important to his guys that he was here, and I think it was important to him."
AP freelance writer Terry McCormick contributed to this report.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at http://www.twitter.com/teresamwalker