NASHVILLE – Ryan Tannehill is returning to the Titans.
Marcus Mariota is not.
During a conference call on Tuesday, Tannehill wished his teammate with the Titans well as he embarks on his fresh start.
Tannehill said the quarterbacks became close during the 2019 season, when Tannehill replaced Mariota as the team's starter.
"We've been talking the last few days," Tannehill said of Mariota. "Really happy for Marcus. I feel like he kind of ended up in a spot where he possibly wanted to be months back. So, really happy for him and his next chapter. I have a lot of confidence in him as a player, love him as a person and respect him, want him to succeed."
Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Titans, is reportedly set to join the Las Vegas Raiders.
Mariota started 61 games for the Titans over the past five seasons before Tannehill replaced him in Week 7 of the 2019 season. Mariota played sparingly down the stretch as Tannehill guided the Titans to a 9-4 mark, and into the AFC Championship Game.
Speaking to Titans Online at the Pro Bowl in January, Tannehill said he has the utmost respect for Mariota.
"Marcus is an incredible human being, and I have so much respect and love for him," Tannehill said. "The way he handled things – it was an incredibly tough situation. He was in Tennessee for five years, and it was his team and where he made his home. The way things went down, I don't think many guys in the world would handle it the way he did. He handled it like a true professional. He was supportive of me from Day One. I know he was hurting, and I tried to be empathetic with that throughout the season and give support to him as well. But he handled it so well – he was supportive of me, helped me out on game days, in preparation during the week. He was just a consistent guy throughout the year.
"We are great friends and we will continue to be great friends."
Tannehill, who agreed to a multi-year contract with the Titans over the weekend, isn't sure who he'll share the quarterback room with in Tennessee in 2020.
Logan Woodside, who spent last season on Injured Reserve, is currently the only other quarterback on the team's roster.
Woodside spent the first three weeks of the 2018 season with the Titans on the practice squad, and he re-signed with the club during the 2019 offseason following a stint with the Alliance of American Football League's San Antonio Commanders. The 6-foot-1 inch, 213-pounder was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (249th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he established program records at Toledo in passing yards (10,514), touchdowns (93), passing efficiency (162.87) and 300-yard games (17) during a four-year career. His 93 touchdown passes ranks fifth all-time in MAC history.
"Yeah, I have no idea what's going to happen there," Tannehill said. "Obviously, they'll probably bring somebody in. We also have Logan (Woodside) who did a great job for us last year just being around and learning a lot of football. But yeah, I expect them to bring somebody else in. I know I have a lot of confidence in Jon (Robinson) to find somebody who fits the team, fits the locker room, fits the way we like to work, and will make us better as a whole. We'll see what happens."