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Ryan Tannehill walks back comment about not mentoring rookie QB Malik Willis

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After the NFL draft, Ryan Tannehill was asked about the Tennessee Titans selecting his apparent successor Malik Willis in the third round.

He gave an honest response in terms of his role in mentoring the rookie quarterback. It's not his job.

“We’re competing against each other," Tannehill told reporters. "We’re watching the same tape. We’re doing the same drills. I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him. If he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing."

No lies there. Tannehill's a starting NFL quarterback whose job is to be just that. Anything short of giving 100 percent of his professional attention to perhaps the most demanding role in sports is a disservice to himself and his team. Player development is the purview of coaches.

Also, Willis is ultimately his competition.

Some, including Kurt Warner, criticized Tannehill for his stance. The former NFL quarterback proclaimed that he "will never understand the 'I'm not here to mentor the next guy' mentality."

Tannehill heard his critics. On Tuesday, he walked back his comments, then blamed the media for "how things got spun and twisted."

"I meant no disrespect to Malik or anything close to that," Tannehill told reporters. "We've been in constant communication since he was drafted, through the madness that ensued after my last press conference. ... He's a good person, he's a talented player, he's coming off a great college career. We're happy to have him in the room.

"I'm really just disappointed with how things got spun and twisted a little bit. I pride myself on being a great teammate. I have my whole career."

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 24:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Nissan Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Titans defeated the Chiefs 27-3.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Not everyone was pleased with Ryan Tannehill for simply stating the truth. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Again, there was nothing wrong with what Tannehill said to begin with. He simply told the truth. This wasn't a matter of spin. Some people simply didn't like what Tannehill said, and that's their own personal qualm. Willis himself didn't have a problem with it. He told reporters earlier in May that "everything is cool."

“We chopped it up," Willis said in response to Tannehill's initial comments. "It was never anything negative. Ryan is a good dude. ... Everything is cool, man.”

So Willis understands, and he's a 22-year-old rookie who just joined the NFL. Everything appears to fine in the Titans' quarterback room.

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