Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill instrumental in Raekwon McMillan’s ACL recovery

Ryan Tannehill and Raekwon McMillan were rehab buddies. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and then-rookie middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan bonded last year through an unfortunate and unexpected coincidence.

Both players missed all of last season with torn ACLs, and because their injuries took place a week apart they ended up on nearly identical comeback tracks. McMillan and Tannehill had surgery on the same day, returned to team headquarters on the same day and began rehabilitation at the same time.

“From Day 1, it was always a competition,” McMillan said of the relationship he formed with Tannehill as they went through the process together. “Who could walk without their crutches first? Who could run full speed under water first? Who could get a bigger quad muscle? Just little stupid stuff like that just to keep competing with each other.”

He reluctantly acknowledged that Tannehill won most of those contests, crediting him for being more at ease with some of the soreness that comes with that process.

Tannehill’s maturity and positivity undoubtedly rubbed off on McMillan, who needed that mentorship after watching his rookie season shatter before it ever began. He was 21 at the time, and it helped to have a veteran like Tannehill walking through the arduous process with him.

Both players anticipated big seasons and never saw them materialize.

Tannehill closed out 2016 by playing the best football of his career before a hit by Calais Campbell caused severe ACL and MCL sprains, which can include some tearing. He opted for rehab instead of surgery and came into training camp believing he was fully recovered. A few days in, his knee gave out on a noncontact play.

McMillan, a highly touted second-round pick out of Ohio State, was in line to win the starting middle linebacker job after just a few months in South Florida. He quickly proved himself as one of the Dolphins’ top defensive players and was settling into the job until tearing his ACL the first time he stepped onto the field for a preseason game.

That’s a lot to deal with at a young age and in a new phase of life, but Tannehill helped him through it.

“He always kept me up,” McMillan said. “Some days, I wasn’t feeling too good and I just couldn’t do what I wanted to do, and he always kept me positive and kept my mind right because he went through it last year.”

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