INDIANAPOLIS – Of all the potential landing spots for Tom Brady should the future Hall of Famer decide his time in New England is up, Tennessee perhaps makes the most sense.
The Titans finished just 9-7 and barely squeaked into the playoffs, but that was largely due to spotty quarterback play over the first half of the season. Once Ryan Tannehill took over for the final nine games and into the playoffs, Tennessee went on a run.
Now Tannehill is a free agent, and his coach, Mike Vrabel, didn't sound all that committed to making his return a certainty.
Vrabel was asked at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday if he would like to see Tannehill return as the starter next season.
"Um, Ryan did a lot of great things for us," Vrabel said after a brief pause. "He came in in a tough situation, led our football team. All those players that have expiring contracts … That's [GM] Jon's [Robinson's] job and my job to help put our football team together. We continue to have those conversations."
The question was then repeated.
"I want all our really good players all to come back. That's how that goes."
The lukewarm response naturally sparked thoughts of Brady possibly joining his old friend in Nashville. Could Vrabel envision Brady playing in a different uniform? Once again, a brief pause from Vrabel followed.
"Um, Tom's a teammate, a former teammate. He's a friend. He'll always be a friend. I know with like a lot of people, he'll do what's best for him and his family. Whatever that may be, I'm not sure," Vrabel concluded.
By no means did Vrabel suggest a reunion between the two was in the works. But it was difficult not to feel his appreciation for Brady when listening to him speak.
To that end, Vrabel was asked what he saw from Brady during the playoff matchup that ended New England's season in the wild card round.
"Very accurate passer, a player that has great command of the pocket," he said. "We try to mix some of the three-man rushes up on him. When he sees that, a lot of quarterbacks will just escape the pocket and go out of the pocket where we want them to go. Tom did a great job of staying in the pocket when we mixed some of those three-man rushes in. Great command of the offense, great leader. That's what I saw."
The biggest question in the NFL remains, what and where will we see Brady in 2020?
Additional coverage from Wednesday at the NFL Combine: