Titans’ Ryan Tannehill on Malik Willis: ‘I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him’

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For the first time since the Tennessee Titans drafted quarterback Malik Willis in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft, quarterback Ryan Tannehill touched on the selection of the Liberty signal-caller, who the team hopes will be the next franchise quarterback.

Tannehill, who was making his first appearance at OTAs, noted that he reached out to Willis right after he was drafted (and he welcomed him on social media) and said the team did not inform him of the move beforehand.

“I texted Malik right after we drafted him as well,” Tannehill revealed after noting he had reached out to wide receiver Treylon Burks on the same day he was drafted in the first round, but didn’t get a response before finally talking to him on Saturday. “I wasn’t informed of that (drafting a quarterback) beforehand, but same thing with A.J. — the team is going to do the best thing that they think is in the best interest of the team.”

“I have no problems with Malik,” Tannehill added. “We’re looking to add talent and guys that can help us, so we’ll add him to the room and go from there.”

As far as mentoring the young signal-caller who could eventually take his place, Tannehill said it isn’t his job to mentor a player who he considers competition, but it’s “great” if Willis learns from him along the way.

“We’re competing against each other, we’re watching the same tape, we’re doing the same drills,” Tannehill explained. “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing.”

That quote likely won’t go over well with Titans fans who are already pissed off at Tannehill for a slew of reasons, chief among them his three-interception game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs.

Tannehill said he still thinks about that and re-watched the game in his head whenever he closed his eyes. He said therapy, something he has been doing for “a little while now,” helped him get out of what he called a “dark space.”

“It’s a scar. It’s a deep scar,” Tannehill admitted. “A lot of sleepless nights. Every time I closed my eyes, I was re-watching the game in my head… It’s still a scar that I’ll carry with me throughout rest of my life.”

“I’ve been doing that (therapy) for a little while now,” he continued. “But, definitely, I think this is the first time that I absolutely needed it to pull me out of a dark space.”

Another thing that made fans angry was the fact that Tannehill wasn’t present for the early goings of the voluntary portion of the offseason program.

Tannehill said he wasn’t just sitting at home relaxing in that time, but rather working and talking to offensive coordinator Todd Downing. He also noted that a social media post of him fishing, something many thought was bad optics, was taken back in March before the offseason program began.

“I’m working. Just because I was at home doesn’t mean I was relaxing,” Tannehill said. “I’m working, I’m throwing, I’m running, I’m getting myself mentally and physically ready to go. I’m having conversations with (offensive coordinator) Todd (Downing), making sure I’m on top of all the information that the guys are getting.”

“Some of the stuff that I did post was taken in March and April and just put it up in that time,” Tannehill added. “I think, maybe, you’re referring to a ‘Celsius’ post that I was on the boat. That was taken in March, I wasn’t even on the boat last week. I think you read too much into that and you can read it how you want, but at the end of the day I know I’m doing whatever I need to do to get myself ready to go.”

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