Titans CB Caleb Farley's father dies in house explosion

The father of Tennessee Titans cornerback Caleb Farley died in an explosion that destroyed the NFL player's North Carolina home and left another person injured, authorities said.

Robert M. Farley was found dead in the debris of the Lake Norman, North Carolina, house Tuesday morning, said Kent Greene, director of Iredell County Fire Services and Emergency Management. Robert Farley was 61.

First responders arrived at the house a few minutes after midnight Tuesday and found Christian Rogers, 25, exiting the collapsed structure, Greene said. Rogers, a friend of the family, was transported to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte with a concussion. He is "awake and alert," Greene said, but has not been discharged from the hospital.

Greene said gas must have accumulated over a long period of time and likely found its way to an ignition source, which caused the explosion. The blast, which local authorities have ruled accidental, originated in a bedroom and did not damage any surrounding homes.

The house is on a large plot of land about 28 miles north of Charlotte. County property records list the assessed value of the home as nearly $2 million.

Farley addressed his father's death in a series of Instagram stories Tuesday night, writing "Daddy you a legend I love you 4L" and "You wasn't suppose to go out like this pop."

In the front yard Tuesday, insulation hung from the trees, and a king-size mattress and broken coffee mug saying "Virginia Tech dad" lie on the lawn. Wood debris and window frames were blown at least 50 yards from the blast.

"There could not be anyone in it left alive -- that was my first thought," Greene said. "And when I found out someone did walk out of it, I was amazed. This was a 6,300-square-foot home, and there's nothing left but maybe a part of the garage."

Property records list Caleb Farley as the homeowner. The player was not there at the time of the reported explosion, Greene said. His teammates said earlier Tuesday that he was one of the last players to leave the locker room Monday night.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel gathered the players after practice Tuesday afternoon. Vrabel informed them of what happened and then they took a knee to pray for Farley.

"What's most important is that we do everything we can to support him emotionally," Vrabel said. "It's shocking. We've got to focus on Caleb and his family, and how we can support him."

Farley, the No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 draft, was placed on injured reserve in November with a back issue. He has played 12 games in his first two seasons and is on the physically unable to perform list as the Titans wrap up training camp this week.

"We were the last ones in the locker room last night just hanging around," running back Derrick Henry said. "I'm praying for his family. It's a tragic situation. I couldn't describe the way he probably feels right now."

In college, the 6-foot-2, 197-pound cornerback was the first high-profile player to opt out of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. He lost his mother to cancer in 2018 and was unwilling to put another loved one at risk while playing at Virginia Tech.

The local fire marshal's office is continuing to investigate the cause of the collapse along with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Dominion Energy and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Greene said it wasn't yet clear who might be liable for the explosion as multiple agencies probed its cause. The gas meter used to measure the volume of fuel gases flowing into nearby homes has been sequestered and does not pose any present danger to others in the community, Greene said.

"I know he lost his mother at a young age as well," Titans safety Kevin Byard said of his teammate. "He's dealt with a lot of adversity. It's very tragic. It's an unimaginable tragedy."

Dominion Energy spokesperson Bonita Billingsley Harris said in an email that the power company was among the first on the scene and was working with investigators.

ESPN's Turron Davenport and The Associated Press contributed to this report.