Ryan Tannehill is one of the 80 players on the Titans’ 90-man roster to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but the Tennessee quarterback made it clear he didn’t exactly go willingly.
“I wouldn’t have gotten the vaccine without the protocols they’re forcing on us,” Tannehill said Wednesday.
Though there is no mandate from the NFL to players or coaches to be vaccinated, protocol in place creates significant challenges to choosing not to be fully vaccinated this season.
“I’m in the process right now of being vaccinated,” Tannehill said Wednesday following general manager Jon Robinson’s media session outlining the team’s vaccination progress. “The NFL has kind of made it clear what they want it to happen. If you don’t fall in line, they’re going to try to make your life miserable with the protocols.”
Players who opt not to receive the vaccine are not allowed to practice in the greater group of players on a daily basis, must wear masks over their nose and mouth and face strict testing and quarantine measures.
The sum of those restrictions would make it difficult for a starting quarterback in the NFL to prepare and play at a high level.
“It’s a personal decision for everyone. Everyone has to make the best decision for their families, that’s kind of our mindset in this building,” Tannehill said. “They ultimately have forced a lot of hands by the protocols. Just … everyone has their own opinions on it. It is what it is. I love this game. I love this team. I want to be able to compete and do the things I think are important to build chemistry and win football games. So, ultimately that forced my hand.”
Tannehill, who turned 33 on Tuesday, is entering his third season with the Ttians. He has thrown for 55 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 28 games (26 starts) with Tennessee.