NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans are well aware of how much of an opportunity they cost themselves in their 19-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Having thrown three interceptions in that game, Ryan Tannehill might have felt it the most.
“It’s a deep scar,” Tannehill said of the loss. “Every time I closed my eyes I kind of rewatched the game. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep for weeks. I was in a dark place, and it took me a while, a lot of work to get out of it.
“I’ve worked through it, but therapy, talking to people, time helped. It took a lot of work to get through it.”
Tannehill said he had a lot of therapy sessions and is now able to look back on the game and learn from it while moving on. The veteran quarterback had been going to therapy for a little while, but the sting from the playoff loss brought a new level of pain.
“This is the first time that I absolutely needed it [therapy] to pull me out of a dark space,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill said that the loss is a scar he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life but that it can serve as fuel for him to work hard to get ready for the 2022 season with a “desire to win like he never had before.”
Being back at the Titans’ facility working with his teammates has helped Tannehill shift his focus away from the abrupt ending to the 2021 season. He’ll also soon have a new quarterback he will be working with.
The Titans’ rookies haven’t reported yet, but when they do, quarterback Malik Willis, a third-round pick in last week’s draft, will be among those first-year players.
Tannehill said the Titans didn’t notify him that they were selecting Willis with the No. 86 pick, although he said he texted Willis soon after the team made the selection. The veteran quarterback said he understands how the league works and welcomes the competition.
“I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him. But if he learns from me along the way, that’s a great thing.”
Ryan Tannehill, on the Titans drafting Malik Willis
“I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him,” Tannehill said. “But if he learns from me along the way, that’s a great thing.”
Tuesday also marked Tannehill’s first chance to publicly react to the Titans’ draft-night trade that sent his No. 1 wide receiver, A.J. Brown, to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Titans used the first-round pick they received in the trade to select rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks.
“I was shocked. When I first found out, I’m like, ‘This isn’t real, this isn’t happening, it’s a rumor,'” Tannehill said of the Brown trade. “And then, I talked to A.J. and found out it was real. I slept terrible that night and kept thinking it was just a bad dream, but that’s where we’re at.”
Tannehill wasn’t in attendance for the voluntary portion of offseason team activities because he needed to finish a renovation at his home in Florida and wanted to spend a little extra time with his family. Select Titans receivers, however, went to South Florida to work out with Tannehill during the offseason.