NASHVILLE — Quarterback Malik Willis’ presence at Day 1 of rookie minicamp was always going to swallow up the Tennessee Titans news cycle. One thing Willis made sure to do: shut down any idea that there is tension between between starter Ryan Tannehill and him.
MentorGate can finally die.
Willis spoke with media in attendance on Friday and was quick to clear the air when asked. Tannehill’s comments last week about what it would be like to be working in the same room as the guy who may eventually take his job ran rampant across the sports media landscape. It was a transparent look into the workplace of professional athletes.
Apparently, Tannehill’s comments were far too honest for many people to handle.
Willis bears no ill will towards Tannehill
Quite the opposite, in fact.
“What comments?” joked Willis when asked about Tannehill. “Nah, man. We chopped it up. I mean, it was never anything negative. Ryan’s a good dude and he had us over at the house. Everything is cool.”
Tannehill had the offensive rookies over to his house at some point over the course of the last week. He and Willis appear to be on more than solid ground as teammates in Tennessee. Growing pains were always to be expected on both sides of the situation. The Titans did not inform Tannehill before they drafted Willis 86th overall in last month’s NFL Draft, and Willis was never supposed to be available in the third round.
Both have significant work to do, but none of it to do with an alleged schism in their relationship.
Coach Mike Vrabel very much echoed those sentiments.
“I thought Ryan handled that very well,” said Vrabel. “I thought he was genuine. I thought he was authentic. I know Ryan is a great teammate and everyone here knows that Ryan is a great teammate. That is not his job. His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games…that was not any sort of issue for me.”
Day 1 of rookie minicamp is in the books. May the football gods make Day 2 less dramatic.
Featured Image: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK