NASVHILLE – This was not his internal clock winding down, telling him to get rid of the ball before the pass rush arrives. Ryan Tannehill has been through that thousands of times in his NFL career and doesn’t sweat it.
These were days on the calendar passing one after the other. Each brought him closer to the end of his contract and the uncertainty of free agency.
It made him uncomfortable.
“It was a different experience than I’ve had with other contracts,” Tannehill said Tuesday on a conference call. “My first was a rookie deal. My second was an extension just in the offseason, so there was really no time crunch or deadlines or anything like that. This one was kind of coming against a deadline.
“So, yeah it was a different experience.”
Ultimately, the veteran quarterback beat the clock and signed a four-year, $118 million contract extension with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, a day before pending free agents were allowed to negotiate with other teams and three days before the start of the NFL’s new league year.
The deal allows him to continue what he started last year, when he took over as the starter and led Tennessee to seven victories in the final 10 games of the regular season and a pair of playoff triumphs on the road.
“I wanted to be back, if possible,” he said. “I had to do what was best for me and my family – to some degree – but I did want to be back, if we could work it out. I didn’t really feel like I needed to test the market.
“At this point in my career, I want to win. And I believe in this organization and this team and this coaching staff. It’s definitely a relief to get it done and to know where I’ll be and know we can start working on getting together and putting the work in to be great this year.”
There also were the persistent reports that Tom Brady, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, did plan to test the free agent market and that the Titans were more likely than most to sign him (Brady announced Tuesday morning that he would, in fact, leave the Patriots).
“I did see that, hear that,” Tannehill said. “But at the same time, I just tried to take a step back and trust in God. He has a plan that everything is going to work out the way it should be and prayed that he was going to guide me along the way.
“… [General manager] Jon [Robinson] and the Titans showed they have a lot of confidence in me. That gives me a lot of confidence. Really excited to be back.”
Now the only thing on his mind is to get back to the AFC Championship, where the Titans’ last season ended, and go a step farther.
“I have lot a of confidence in the guys in that locker room,” Tannehill said. “So, I think that played a big factor because I wanted to be back. I believe the tone that Coach [Mike] Vrabel sets when he talks each and every day, the standard that we try to uphold throughout the building and just chasing greatness – chasing wins.
“At this point in my career, I want to win. I want to be in a winning organization, on a winning team and [with] guys that love football and want to get better each and every day and go out and compete and win games. And I think the Titans organization is full of guys like that, full of people like that and that played a huge factor in where I wanted to be.”