Former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck, one of the heroes behind the franchise’s “Music City Miracle” playoff victory, fell in his home on Saturday morning and died due to a head injury. He was only 52 years old, and since retiring as a player, was still close to the organization as a Nashville morning show host and Titans Radio sportscaster.
“At this time, it appears Frank Wycheck fell inside his Chattanooga, TN home and hit his head on Saturday morning. He was found unresponsive that afternoon.
Wycheck moved to Chattanooga, TN this past summer to be closer to his family. He leaves behind two adult daughters, Deanna and Madison, both married, and three grandchildren – Leo, Stevie and August.”
With a hat tip to Albert Breer, it’s rather unsettling to look back on a 2017 report by Kuharsky, when he covered how Wycheck was worried about having CTE.
That’s the degenerative traumatic brain injury found in many autopsies of former football players who suffered concussions throughout their careers. Wycheck said at the time he was “scared” because he estimated that he’d suffered 25 concussions from the time he began playing at five years old.
Obviously, to link those two things together in a preemptive, overly simplified fashion would be irresponsible speculation. Nevertheless, the story also uncovers how Wycheck was reluctant to leave his house and had to cancel commitments over the years, because he felt like “there is a brick wall” before he could get out the front door. He was dealing with anxiety and depression in the midst of all that.
For somebody who brought so much joy to so many people in his life around football, it’s sad to see Wycheck and many others struggle so much away from the game. The physical toll the sport takes is a reality everyone knows they’re signing up for. At the same time, it really puts a pit in your stomach when former players are quite literally battling of their lives in a lot of cases.
Again, it’s unclear exactly what led to Wycheck’s fatal fall. Just trying to illustrate some of the backstory and what Wycheck was dealing with the final years of his life. Condolences to the family and the Nashville/Titans community.
Here’s the “Music City Miracle” play, as Wycheck executed a perfect lateral to Kevin Dyson, who raced to the end zone to stun the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round.
That postseason followed the 1999 campaign. Without that amazing play early in the playoffs, Tennessee would’ve never run all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV, which they lost 23-16 to the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” team.
Wycheck is in the Titans’ Ring of Honor and was a three-time Pro Bowler who finished his career with 505 receptions, 5,126 yards and 28 TDs. What else can be said? This is awful news, and once more, all the best to his family, friends and everyone around the Titans and the larger NFL family who are grieving today.