Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill opens up about how fatherhood has changed him

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill at Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida on May 31, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Less than a year ago, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill became a father for the first time.

As he approaches his first Father’s Day, Tannehill on Saturday reflected on how the birth of his son Steel has impacted his view of the world.

“It’s a love that you don’t know exist, really, until you have a child,” Tannehill said. “It’s amazing how fast it hits you. The baby comes out and then immediately this wave of love just washes over you. And I definitely makes you take a step back and see what’s really important in the world and what’s periphery and what matters. So I would definitely say my world view changed a little bit. And what matters changed a little bit.”

Tannehill led two groups of about 500 children, aged 7-13, in a youth football camp at the Dolphins’ indoor practice facility on Saturday. Tannehill spent more than five total hours with the children as they did drills such as 3-step-drop, play-action, sprint draw and zone read as well as route tree and swim/release.

The session was sponsored by Hyundai, which donated $50,000 to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to fund pediatric cancer research. Among the participants were a group of pediatric cancer survivors.

Tannehill also took photos with the children, led a question-and-answer session and delivered a speech.

“I encourage you to get outside,” Tannehill told one group of children. “Live an active lifestyle at an early age. Treat each other with respect and love. We don’t treat each other with enough respect and love. Make good choices. If your friends are doing something you know is not right, step away. You guys face challenges that I didn’t have to face. Sometimes it’s hard, but step away. When you’re 20 you’ll look back and say, ‘I’m glad I did that and didn’t go down the wrong path.’ Make good choices. Have fun. And treat each other with love and respect.”

Tannehill, 28, is on the verge of his sixth NFL season.

In addition to growing as a signal-caller, he says fatherhood has helped change his perspective.

“Everything has to be so much more planned out, so that freedom of spontaneity is kind of limited as far as what we can do,” Tannehill said of he and wife Lauren. “But with it you get that blessing. Being able to spend that quality time with him. When you walk in the door and you’ve been at work all day, and you walk in and he sees you and he lights up with a smile, that feeling I get, when you first see him smile when he first sees me is that’s pretty special.”

Watching Steel Tannehill grow has been rewarding for Ryan.

“He’s a big kid,” Tannehill said. “When he came out, he was almost 10 pounds. And now he’s like 24 pounds and he’s 10 months old. It really is crazy. He’s in 18-24 month clothing. So it really is crazy how big he is and how fast he grows. You don’t realize how fast he’s growing. But you look back at pictures from a few months before and he looks totally different. And he’s doing totally different things. And he’s much more advanced than he was then. And you know it’s a fun process, getting to see them develop, getting to use their hands and start to talk a little bit and you know now he knows dog. He sees a dog and he says, ‘Dog! Dog!’ I’m biased. But he’s a cute kid.”

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