Zach Mettenberger was the victim of a sucker-punch from an Alabama fan last weekend, making the rookie quarterback the punch line of some good-natured ribbing in the Titans locker room.
"I get Roll-Tided a lot," the former LSU star said with a smile on Saturday after the Titans completed their first practice of training camp. "But it's all in good fun."
Mettenberger didn't find much humor when he was punched in the eye at Losers Bar Most Wanted Bar & Grille in Nashville.
Steve Ford, the bar's owner, told The Tennessean a bar patron "said something about 'Roll Tide!' to Zach, and Zach turned around and said 'Good luck with that' before being 'sucker-punched' in the face."
Speaking about the incident for the first time, Mettenberger called it "unfortunate." He said he did nothing to provoke the fan, and he's not sure he'd recognize the guy who hit him.
"It is never fun to get punched in the face, everybody knows that. But you have to take the high road in some situations," Mettenberger said. "As much media attention as it got, it could have been a lot worse. It's something where you just live and learn, and put it in the past."
Mettenberger said it all happened so fast, he's not sure if the guy that punched him is the same one who yelled "Roll Tide!" or if it was his buddy.
"He hit me when I wasn't looking," Mettenberger said. "Even being in college, it's just how the world is with social media and ESPN. Everybody knows who we are and we really have to be careful when we do have a night out, and just be smart."
Mettenberger said the incident "reminds me that the rivalry is still heated" between LSU and Alabama. It also reminded him about how rumors get started.
"I heard how I lost a tooth and I broke a hand," he said. "But obviously, as you saw today, neither is true. It's just part of the rumor mill I guess. … I'm just ready to put all of it behind me and play football. It was great to get back out there."
Titans guard Chance Warmack, a former Alabama player, said not all Crimson Tide fans behave like the guy who punched Mettenberger.
"I don't think (the fan) was representing Alabama; he was representing himself," Warmack said. "That's not the way to handle it. I'm glad Zach handled things the way he did."