With 77 consecutive starts, Ryan Tannehill proved he’s tough enough to come back and do it again


Ryan Tannehill is a tough guy or he wouldn’t have started 77 consecutive games while absorbing a total of 213 career sacks.

Of course, that streak is over now, with knee trouble stopping the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback late last season and a training-camp relapse knocking him out for all of 2017.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talks with Jay Cutler during warmups before pre-season game against Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on August 10, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Still, I wouldn’t bet against his return from a long and difficult rehab to take over again as Miami’s starter in 2018. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they consistently show up for work, and Tannehill would probably be out there right now if he had another chance to delay surgery. Gimpy but game, he was throwing pregame passes in shorts and a T-shirt before the Dolphins’ preseason opener last week.

Dan Marino is the only Dolphins quarterback with more consecutive starts than Tannehill. He had a string of 95 between 1987 and 1993, fourth-longest in team history behind Jason Taylor (130), Richmond Webb (118) and Jim Langer (109).

In NFL history, only 21 quarterbacks have topped Tannehill’s string of 77 consecutive starts. Brett Favre (297) and Peyton Manning (208), a couple of Hall of Famers, are No. 1 and No. 2 on the list.

The only currently active NFL passers with streaks longer than 77 at some point in their careers are:

Eli Manning (199, streak is active)

Philip Rivers (176, streak is active)

Joe Flacco (122)

Matt Ryan (115, streak is active)

Tom Brady (112)

Tom Brady (111)

Matthew Stafford (96, streak is active)

Drew Brees (82)

Russell Wilson (80, streak is active)

Drew Brees (79)


Crazy to think that Brees would have a couple of starting streaks that rank in the league’s all time top 25. He’s the quarterback Miami passed on as a free agent in 2006, thinking his surgically-repaired right shoulder wasn’t fully healed and might not hold up.

Brees came back strong, of course, with the New Orleans Saints. Maybe Tannehill will, too.

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