Eric Decker has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012.
The veteran receiver used to joke with his wife about one day playing for the Tennessee Titans, realizing how nice a fit the city and team would be for the family.
It’s now a reality. Decker officially signed with the Titans on Monday, after agreeing to terms Sunday night. The former Jets and Broncos receiver brings a veteran presence and some nice credentials to his new team.
“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Decker said on Monday. “You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home.
“There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity.”
A third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, Decker has 385 career receptions for 5,253 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns in seven seasons. He has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career, including a 1,288-yard season in 2013. He’s also turned in 12 100-yard performances.
When the Jets released him last week, it opened up doors elsewhere. Decker said he talked with five or six teams, and had other visits scheduled for this week. But he opted to sign a one-year deal in Tennessee.
“Mulling over some of my options, I just felt like this was the right fit,’’ Decker said. “Just looking at the roster, and the progress they’ve made over the last few years, and meeting with Jon (Robinson) and Mike (Mularkey), I have a lot of respect for where they came from, their philosophy, how they do things, and that’s something I want to be a part of.
“And I am excited about Marcus Mariota and the young talent he is.”
Decker, whose wife is singer-songwriter Jessie James Decker, said he wants to bring leadership to his new team. But he said he wants to first earn the trust of his new teammates, starting in training camp.
He has a nice track record.
Since 2012, Decker’s 43 receiving touchdowns rank fifth in the NFL and his 4,535 receiving yards rank 18th. His 33 red zone touchdown receptions are the second-highest total in the NFL over that time period. Between 2012 and 2015, Decker averaged 82 receptions for 1,085 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Decker joins a group that already includes veteran Rishard Matthews, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season. The Titans drafted Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick of the draft, and also selected Taywan Taylor in the third round.
Tajae Sharpe, who is recovering from foot surgery, also returns, along with Harry Douglas, Tre McBride and others.
“The one thing we discussed is having a veteran presence, and having success in Denver being around Peyton Manning,” he said. “I learned a lot about the game and how to do things the right way and I want to be able to help others in that sense.”
Decker spent his first four seasons with the Broncos before joining the Jets in 2014. Decker led the Jets with 74 receptions for 962 yards and five touchdowns in 2014. In 2015, Decker had 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Decker was limited to three games last season. He was placed on injured reserve on October
12 before undergoing hip and shoulder surgeries. Decker returned to the team’s offseason program, however, as a full participant. He said on Monday he’s healthy, and ready to go.
He’s looking forward to catching passes from Mariota.
“He’s a big guy, and he throws a great ball,” Decker said of Mariota. “He is very accurate, and he uses his feet and gets out of the pocket and throws. He’s a talent, but I also like the way he carries himself. He is very stoic, and he seems very humble. I hear he’s a real football junkie who wants to be great, and that’s so important.
“And he has a good supporting cast around him, a great offensive line. The defense is playing well. There’s a lot of factors that make things attractive here.
“I am excited. It’s good to get this process over and join the Titans. I am happy it worked out. It’s a great place to be.”