KANSAS CITY _ Even after clinching a playoff spot for the first time in nine years, a report from NFL Network circulated Saturday morning before the Titans’ Wild-Card Game against the Chiefs that Mike Mularkey might be coaching for his job.
The same thing from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport came up last week when the Titans edged the Jacksonville Jaguars to qualify for the postseason.
After his club rallied from a 21-3 halftime deficit for a 22-21 victory that sends them to the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Coach Mike Mularkey had a comeback for the detractors and the speculation.
“It’s ridiculous,” Mularkey said when asked about the report in the postgame press conference.
The coach took offense to the speculation, saying it created a distraction for his family and in turn for him.
“I can say I don’t think it’s fair for my family. So if it has an effect on my family, it has an effect on me. So, yeah, I’d say it had a big effect on me,” Mularkey said.
Mularkey, who has one year remaining on his contract, said he assumed the worst and felt like he didn’t have the support from the organization heading into the playoff game.
“No, I haven’t had any support to say that I was (secure). I just assumed the worst,” Mularkey said.
Several Titans players came to Mularkey’s defense, none more vocally than linebacker Brian Orakpo.
“That’s crazy to me because I never heard that,” Orakpo said. “That’s crazy. I mean, a guy to take a team to two back-to-back winning seasons, go to the postseason, which hasn’t been done in a long time, win a postseason game, I mean what the hell more do people want? It’s (expletive) ridiculous to me. But what do I know? What do I know? It’s (expletive) crazy. That man has put us in a great position to make us successful and I’m glad to have him as a head coach.”
Added running back Derrick Henry, “There’s a lot of outside noise. People saying this and that. We do a good job and he does a good job of making sure we stay focused and not pay attention to that outside noise.”