Tennessee Titans Rookie Malik Willis: No Bad Blood with Ryan Tannehill

by Chris Haney

Following Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s comments about rookie Malik Willis, the No. 86 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft has spoken. During a recent press conference, a reporter asked the newly-drafted quarterback out of Liberty about he and Tannehill’s relationship. Willis made sure to smooth things over and assured reporters that “everything is cool” between the teammates.

Previously, the Titans’ starting QB didn’t seem too thrilled by his team drafting another young quarterback. When asked about being a mentor for the team’s new 22-year-old draft pick, Tannehill spoke honestly. He shared that he didn’t think a mentorship came along with his job description. However, he also stated he hoped Willis would learn from him along the way.

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

On Friday, Malik Willis dismissed any tension between the two Titans QBs when a reporter asked him about Tannehill’s quote. At first though, Willis had some fun with the controversy. He looked the reporter in the eye and acted confused by his question. “What comment?” Willis asked with a perplexed look as if he hadn’t heard about Tannehill’s remarks. “What comment?” he asked again before breaking out into a huge smile as everyone shared a laugh.

“Did you take anything from that or anything of significance or what are your thoughts?” the reporter added.

“Ah man, we chopped it up. I mean, it was never anything negative,” Willis responded. “Ryan’s a good dude. Like I said, he had us over to the house the other day. Everything is cool, man.”

Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel Calls Ryan Tannehill a ‘Great Teammate’ Following Malik Willis’ Comments

For some NFL analysts, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s comments were viewed as a negative that could lead to locker room issues. Yet Malik Willis and even Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel are downplaying that narrative.

Over the weekend, Vrabel commented on his two quarterbacks and praised Tannehill. He has no issue with what Tannehill said and believes that “Ryan handled that very well.” In fact, he added that he agrees with Tannehill that mentoring isn’t part of his job as the Titans starting QB.

“He was genuine, he was authentic,” Vrabel said of Tannehill’s quotes. “Everybody here knows he’s a great teammate. That (mentoring) is not his job. His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games and be a great teammate and help out. That was not any sort of an issue for me.”

Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans are looking to build off of last season when they went 12-5 and took the AFC’s top seed into the playoffs. The starter struggled in the divisional round against the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals – throwing three interceptions in a tough loss.

Last month, Tennessee moved up into the third round of the NFL Draft to select Malik Willis. It surprised many that they drafted the Liberty prospect, but the Titans are planning for the future. We’ll see how that plays out this season if Tannehill struggles behind center.