Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Tuesday after organized team activities that he meant no disrespect to Malik Willis when Tannehill said it was not his job to mentor the rookie quarterback.
"I meant no disrespect to Malik, or anything close to that," Tannehill said. "We've been in constant communication since he was drafted, through the madness that ensued after my last press conference. And over the last few weeks, as he's been in the building and kind of getting to know each other, he's a good person. He's a talented player."
The week after the draft, Tannehill spoke to the media and discussed the Titans' pick of Willis in the third round. The 11-year veteran was asked about what the two quarterbacks' relationship would be heading into the season.
“We’re competing against each other. We’re watching the same tape. We’re doing the same drills," Tannehill said on May 3 about Willis. "I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him, but if he learns from me along the way, that’s a great thing."
Tannehill lamented how his comments "got spun and twisted" after criticism mounted on social media, including from Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner.
"As soon as it blew up, I reached out to (Willis) and said, 'Hey, I'm going to be a great teammate to you,'" Tannehill said Tuesday. "'I'm going to support you, and they're making this out to something that it's not to be. It's not what it's been made out to be at all.'"
"And he was great with it throughout the whole time. As soon as I reached out to him, he was like,' Yeah, I can't believe it's blown into this.' So, things were great with us from the beginning and have continued to be great. And it's been great to have him in the room."
Tannehill added that he's been encouraged seeming Willis get up to speed in OTAs.
"He's out here working," Tannehill said of Willis. "That's one of my charges as a leader of the room to try to help him out. And he's done a good job of getting with the room and working to get better. We're all out there just working to get better each and every day and he's doing that."
"I'm going to be a good teammate," Tannehill said. "I'm going to support (Willis). I'm going to help, encourage (and) push him. Those are all important things and things I'm going to continue to do."
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Titans' Ryan Tannehill 'meant no disrespect' to Malik Willis