DAVIE, Fla.-- Somehow, Ryan Tannehill evaded an NFL Films crew as he entered the Miami Dolphins training facility late Saturday night.
There was an obvious urgency to end Tannehill's two-day holdout, to have him signed in time to join Sunday's third day of training camp.
Tannehill, the No. 8 overall pick in April's NFL draft, is in the thick of a hotly contested quarterback battle with veterans Matt Moore and David Garrard.
Tannehill met with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin at about 11:15 p.m. on Saturday. Philbin described Tannehill as "excited" and "upbeat."
"He said it felt like an eternity that he had been away," Philbin said. "We had seen him every day in the facility up until that point in time."
Tannehill had not been to the facility since Wednesday, the last time he threw passes to Chad Johnson and others. He escaped South Florida to work with former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke at IMG to stay sharp.
Tannehill had hoped to sign his deal on his 24th birthday, but it took one more day. He signed a four-year deal worth $12.688 million with a fifth-year option. The deal was held up by "offset language," or how much the Dolphins would owe Tannehill if he was released before the contract expires.
"I didn't want to hold out, that's just not really my style," Tannehill said. "I want to be here, and I want to compete. It was a long two days. ...There's still some downtime where you're sitting around, tapping your foot and thinking, 'Let's get this thing done.'
"At the end of the day, I feel like we worked out a good deal for both sides."
Tannehill had roughly five hours of sleep before a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call. He worked mostly with the second-team offense, and received most of the quarterback snaps, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said.
"I thought he'd be a little rusty today, but I thought he was pretty much on task on just about everything he did," Sherman said. "He didn't seem to miss a beat. Obviously, he's been working hard here with the receivers all summer on their own and throwing, so I think he was ahead of where I thought he'd be - particularly after a long night and a tough couple of days."
On his very first pass attempt during indoor drills, Tannehill connected on a bullet to wide receiver Roberto Wallace along the sideline. The knock on Tannehill throughout the offseason was a need to adapt to NFL speed. His decisions were slow, which often led to sacks, incomplete passes or interceptions.
Tannehill was notably quicker Sunday with his decisions. He threw a pair of interceptions in 7-on-7 drills, both tipped by wide receivers.
"My first impression is he threw the ball pretty well," Philbin said. "...I was a little bit concerned because it was (a day of third down work). I sat in the defensive meeting yesterday, and Kevin (Coyle) was going to have 20 different blitzes going in. I was a little bit concerned he was walking into a buzz saw so to speak. I thought he did pretty well."
Tannehill's apparent improvement was facilitated through daily summer workouts with receivers such as Johnson, Davone Bess, Legedu Naanee, Clyde Gates and Charles Clay. He also watched film trying to learn how to "get the ball out faster."He also noted his need to continue to improve his footwork, and to step into the pocket earlier.
"It's a faster game," Tannehill said. "You have to have fast decisions and fast feet to get the ball out on time."
Tannehill's lone absence from voluntary summer workouts was due to a one-week honeymoon he took with his wife, Lauren, to St. Lucia. He said it was long overdue since their wedding in January.
On Sunday, Lauren watched the outdoor portion of practice from high above the stands often flashing wide smiles and laughing with some other women.
Tannehill said contract negotiations helped him realize the NFL is a business.
Now his job is to progress to the point where he eventually will take over of the starting quarterback job.
When that occurs remains unclear.
"I feel like I'm in it," Tannehill said. "I may be naive, but the coaches haven't given me any indication that I'm not so I'm going to go out there every day and do my best to win the job."
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