NASHVILLE – On the inside of his right arm, Titans quarterback Will Levis has a tattoo with a Biblical verse: 2nd Chronicles 15:7.
The verse says, "But as for you, stay strong and do not give up, for your effort will be rewarded."
Levis said the best advice he ever received was from his late grandfather, to "never give up." He got the tattoo as a freshman at Penn State back in 2018, and it became his own personal mantra.
Through his travels to the University of Kentucky, the patience he needed during the NFL Draft, and then waiting his turn with the Titans, the verse still applies to Levis.
Titans Coach Mike Vrabel officially named Levis the team's starting quarterback on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Levis said he's thankful.
"It's been my mantra since I can remember," Levis said of the Bible verse. "It's an easy thing for me to look to, and to remind myself just to never give up, and to know that nothing in this life is ever going to come easy. And when you hit that bump in the road, to know that's an opportunity to get better. Just keep a positive mindset about things sometimes when I get down, it's a good way to bring me back to base."
Levis, drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, started in place of injured veteran Ryan Tannehill during the team's past two games – vs Atlanta and at Pittsburgh.
On Tuesday, Vrabel named Levis the starter moving forward.
Levis said nothing will change with his approach moving forward, but he did acknowledge he'll need to speak up even more from a leadership standpoint after deferring to the veterans before him in his first few months with the team.
The Titans play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
"The news didn't change anything," Levis said. "It was cool to hear that, and to see it become official. But it doesn't change much as far as how I am approaching things."
Tannehill, who started the first six games of the season, said he was disappointed with the development. Tannehill said he continues to work to get healthy, although he's not there yet from a physical standpoint.
But he vowed to be a pro.
"It is hard," Tannehill said on Wednesday. "I have never been in this situation before. So, it hits hard, and it's never a situation that anyone wants to be in. But it's the situation that I'm in, and I have to walk through it.
"(Will) has done some good things obviously. He came in and played well … and I'm going to be here to answer any questions he might have and help him out along the way."
Levis, taken with the 33rd overall pick of last year's draft, performed well in his first two NFL starts over the last two weeks.
Levis threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns with a 130.5 rating in the team's 28-23 win over the Falcons on October 29. His passer rating was the best in franchise history among qualifying players (minimum 20 attempts) in the first start of a rookie season.
In his second career start at Pittsburgh last Thursday, Levis threw for 262 yards with one interception, with seven completions of 20-plus yards.
Through two starts, Levis has completed 41-of-68 passes for 500 yards, with four touchdowns, one interception, and a 96.4 rating.
Tannehill, who took over as the team's regular starter during the 2019 season, started the first six games of the 2023 season until suffering ankle injury in the team's game against the Ravens in London.
In his six starts, Tannehill completed 98-of-158 passes for 1,128 yards with two touchdown passes and six interceptions, and a passer rating of 71.9.
Tannehill was one of the team's inactives during the past two games, as Malik Willis served as the team's No.2 quarterback.
In Tuesday's practice, Tannehill told Levis to go before him in individual drills, letting him know "this is you."
"I am always going to be a guy who is going to lead by example," Levis said, "and just show the standard through my actions. But when you do transition into that starting role there becomes some more freedom with how to interact with the guys, coaching the guys, and just being more direct with it.
"I think the biggest thing for me is I didn't change who I was in practice from when I was the third-string up until now, and I think that helped me."