Titans rookie Jonathan Willard saves family from burning car

An ordinary drive to his first NFL training camp ended in a heroic act by Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Jonathan “Tig” Williard on Tuesday.

“I saw this car in front of me, and it had all kinds of black smoke coming out of it,” the undrafted free agent from Clemson told TigerNet.com. “I tried to speed up and get up next to the car to let them know the car was on fire.”

The NFLcalendar may be changing. (Gene J. Puskar / AP) The NFLcalendar may be changing. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

As Willard pulled up alongside the car on Interstate 40 and honked, he saw a woman with three children and a dog inside.

“When she pulled over, the car was really on fire at that point,” Willard said. “The driver, she acted like she was in some kind of daze or something. She told me that she didn’t stop because she didn’t think it was her car that was on fire. Another guy stopped, and we managed to get the kids and the dog out and get them to safety, and then I finally got the woman out.”

Then, the car burst into flames.

“I was just glad that we got the kids and all of them out of the car,” Willard said. “I was thinking that I was just doing what everybody else would do, but there were cars just going past us and no one else was stopping, so I don’t know if that is what would happen or not. She just kept thanking me.

“That car was just gone. It went up quick.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Cindy Boren · July 24, 2013