The Tennessee Titans' quarterback recently completed training to become a certified pilot, an endeavor he spoke at length about at the end of Titans' voluntary spring workouts Wednesday. He calls flying "an escape" and an opportunity to be completely focused and single-minded on a task, a hobby that allows him to be in the moment like no other.
After passing his exam, Tannehill was able to fly with his wife and two kids for the first time. Tannehill didn't pass up the chance to craft a family memory, but he admits the buildup to the flight was stressful.
"There's this growing process throughout the flight process where at first you're nervous, you're coming in, you're trying to do everything perfectly," Tannehill explained. "As you get more comfortable, those nerves go away a little bit. You're still making sure you're on top of everything but you're not quite as on edge coming in to land. I had the family in there for the first time and I felt like I reverted back and got a little nervous with my whole family on board. But I was able to execute the landing and everything. The next morning my daughter and son were like 'Daddy, can we get back on the plane today?' So they loved it."
As for his coaches and teammates, Tannehill says he's ready to take anyone who's interested up into the skies. He said he's been in communication with coach Mike Vrabel about the hobby and that Vrabel encouraged him to fly bigger aircrafts. Vrabel joked he wouldn't get in a plane with Tannehill yet, saying he has trucks bigger than the planes Tannehill can fly.
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And Tannehill is not comfortable enough yet to fly long distances. He said he'll still be flying Southwest for his trips out of Nashville while the team is off before training camp.
But when there's a brave soul who wants to take a trip, Tannehill is ready for him.
"There are a lot of guys that are curious," Tannehill said. "We'll see when it comes time to take them up if they're actually gonna go."
Nick Suss is the Titans beat writer for The Tennessean. Contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans' Ryan Tannehill explains getting pilot's license