Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill says Divisional loss left a “deep scar”

Nights with no sleep. Over and over in his thoughts, he rewinded the loss. As well as therapy sessions.

And then there’s the matter of weeks and weeks of time.

Ryan Tannehill has a history of losing big games. The Titans quarterback was left with a “deep scar” after losing as the AFC’s No. 1 seed after throwing three interceptions, the latest with 20 seconds left.

Tannehill spoke with reporters for the first time since the Titans’ 19-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 22. “I was in a terrible place, and it took me a long time and a lot of work to come out of it,” Tannehill said.

Tannehill admitted that he has utilized counseling in the past.

Tannehill remarked, “This is the first time… I absolutely needed that to lift me out of a dark zone.”

Tennessee fans have made Tannehill the scapegoat for the defeat, furious at the team’s failure to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 22 years. The fact that Cincinnati won the AFC after defeating Tennessee on a last-second field goal set up by Tannehill’s third interception didn’t help matters.

After adjusting his contract last summer to make room for seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, the Titans released him in March, Tannehill now has the highest salary cap number in the NFL.

The Titans also traded up to get quarterback Malik Willis of Liberty in the third round, the highest quarterback this team has taken since Marcus Mariota at No. 2 overall in 2015.

Tannehill understands it wasn’t his greatest game after months of preparation and dedication to put himself and the Titans in that situation.

“It stung, it hurt to go out and play below the bar that I set for myself,” Tannehill said. “And, as I mentioned, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of reflecting, a lot of re-watching the game in my thoughts.” But, yes, getting through it took a lot of effort.”

He compared the agony to a cut that had eventually healed and turned into a scar.

“It’s always on your mind,” Tannehill said, “and now it’s fuel for me.” “It gives me motivation to work hard and prepare with zeal, and to enter this season with a fire and a desire to win that I’ve never had before.”

Tannehill has also been chastised for not being with the Titans when the offseason program began last month. The quarterback stated he was busy working out and finalizing a remodeling in Florida. A snapshot of him aboard a boat that he shared on social media in April was really taken in March.

The Titans quarterback has returned to practice despite the absence of his star wide receiver. Last week, the Titans traded A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the NFL draft, then selected Arkansas’ Treylon Burks with the 18th overall pick.

Tannehill had been in contact with Brown and fully anticipated Tennessee to extend the receiver’s contract. Tannehill was surprised by the trade, since he lost a friend and a quality playmaker in Brown, but he told Burks he’s interested to see what the rookie brings.

After their minicamp on May 13-15, the rookies will join the veterans.

From trading for veteran receiver Robert Woods and signing tight end Austin Hooper to drafting Burks, tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo, and receiver Kyle Phillips, the Titans have provided Tannehill with a plethora of new playmakers this offseason.

Tannehill also responded to those who doubted his ability to lead the Titans to the Super Bowl. Yes, he understands that he must improve his game in January.

“I have complete faith in myself, and I believe my teammates do as well,” Tannehill said. “And that’s all that counts to me at the end of the day.”

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