NASHVILLE – The past year has been a roller coaster for Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and today he finds himself sitting on a high.
Two days after agreeing to a lucrative multi-year contract with the Titans, Tannehill on Tuesday discussed his good fortune – and his optimism moving forward – on a conference call with reporters in Nashville.
"It's pretty crazy how things have changed in the past year," said Tannehill, who was acquired in a trade last March from the Dolphins. "I've been through a lot of ups and downs in the past year, a lot of emotions, a lot of hard times, and also a lot of good times.
"Just to be able to get the deal done was a huge relief. I wanted to be back in Tennessee. I think we started something special there last year and have a lot of unfinished business. It's a great organization, a great coaching staff, an incredible locker room that I have a lot of confidence in, players I love playing with. I am excited to be back. I wanted to be back and I'm so happy we were able to make it happen."
Tannehill was named Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press following a season when he led the NFL with a 117.5 rating, and he guided the Titans to a pair of playoff wins – at New England and Baltimore – and into the AFC Championship Game.
Tannehill said contract talks started to ramp up in the past few days, and he started to get excited. He acknowledged he heard the rumors about Tennessee's possible interest in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but he said he did his best to ignore them.
"I tried not to buy into, or read and keep up," Tannehill said. "Obviously I did hear that, see that. But at the same time, I just tried to take a step back and trust in God. He had a plan that everything was going to work out the way it should be. I prayed that He was going to guide me along the way and give me a clear head to make decisions along the way."
On the conference call, Tannehill said he hopes the team can work out a long-term deal with running back Derrick Henry, who received the franchise tag on Monday. Tannehill said he'll miss right tackle Jack Conklin, who is headed to Cleveland, but he expressed confidence in Dennis Kelly, who agreed to a multi-year deal with the team on Monday.
Tannehill reiterated he didn't want to head into free agency, and he didn't want to leave Tennessee and be forced to start over somewhere else. He talked further about his confidence in Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and his teammates, and the support he's received from general manager Jon Robinson.
"I wanted to be back, if possible," he said. "I didn't really feel like I needed to test the market. At this point in my career I want to win, and I believe in this organization and this team and this coaching staff. It's a relief to get (the contract) done and know where I'll be and know we can start working on putting the work in to be great this year.
"The guys that we need to win are in the locker room," Tannehill said. "We're going to add a couple of more pieces in the next couple of months, and I have a lot of confidence in Jon and Coach Vrabel and the other guys that are evaluating to put together a full roster of guys who love football and want to win. I have a lot of confidence in what we started last year, but I think we have a lot of work to do."
During the 2019 regular season, Tannehill threw for 2,742 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. In 2019, he guided the Titans to a 9-4 mark, including playoffs, since taking over as the team's starter in Week 7.
He also set the franchise mark for completion percentage (70.3%), a mark that was third-best in the NFL for 2019.
Tannehill said he felt even better about things when speaking to Robinson after getting the deal worked out.
"He confirmed his confidence in me, and his excitement to have me back," Tannehill said. "And that just truly solidified how I already felt about being back. I am really, really excited about being back and his confidence in me moving forward."
A look back at QB Ryan Tannehill's 2019 Pro Bowl season that saw him complete 201-of-286 passes (70.3%) for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns, and an NFL-leading 117.5 passer rating. (Photos: Donald Page).