KANSAS CITY _ With any season-ending loss, it means there will be inevitable change before the next season arrives.
And though the Tennessee Titans made a deeper-than-most-expected run to the AFC Championship Game, there are still many questions that must be addressed regarding the roster for 2020.
The Titans’ season had only been over for about an hour past their 35-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and already players were discussing the 2019 season in the past tense and looking at what lies ahead for next season.
The Titans’ two most pressing concerns going forward is the fact that neither their starting quarterback in Ryan Tannehill nor their bell cow running back in Derrick Henry are under contract for next season.
Ryan Tannehill, acquired in a trade last off-season from the Miami Dolphins, helped rescue a floundering Titan season when he took over a 2-4 team and posted some of the best numbers of his eight-year NFL career in Tennessee.
“I love these guys. I love this team. I love the way we competed this year. I love playing with them week in and week out,” Tannehill said in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss.
But because pro football is a business, Tannehill either could not or would not disclose what lies ahead for him next year.
“I’ll have to take a step back and look at things in the off-season. I love this team and I love what this team was able to accomplish. I have a lot of love for the guys on this team, and I loved playing with them. So will take a step back and look at that, but right now, I just can think of anything but how close we were and this loss,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill, 31, led the Titans to a 9-4 record (including playoffs) as the team’s starter led the league in yards per attempt this season while also completing 70 percent of his passes in Arthur Smith’s offense.
Meanwhile, Tannehill’s passing provided a nice complement to the league’s leading rusher in Henry, who finished the regular season with 1,540 yards and then added 446 more in three playoff games.
Henry’s contract is also set to expire at season’s end, and the way he finished the season as not only the focal point of the Titans offense, but the best running back in the NFL, the Titans likely will have to find a way to keep him in the fold.
“Right now, we just lost a game and I’m not really thinking about contracts or anything like that, but when that time comes, I’m sure we’ll address it,” Henry said.
Henry spoke of the way the Titans bonded throughout the season,
“I love this team. I love playing football, and I love competing,” Henry said. “I love being around my teammates. Life is not always good, but you’ve got your teammates to lean on to get you through those hard times. I felt like those guys helped me get through a lot, and I’m definitely going to miss this team. But I look back, and I know I had a lot of great teammates, a lot of great moments and a lot of good things I can reminisce on.”
Tannehill and Henry are not the only big Titans free agents, as cornerback Logan Ryan and right tackle Jack Conklin are among the key players whose contracts are expiring as well.
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