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Titans QB Levis dealing with sprained ankle, hopes to play Week 16

Will Levis Tennessee Titans Will Levis - The Canadian Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rookie quarterback Will Levis hopes to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks as he recovers from a sprained left ankle similar to the injury that cost veteran Ryan Tannehill his job as the Tennessee Titans' starter.

Levis did not practice Wednesday, and coach Mike Vrabel said Tannehill will start if the rookie can't play.

The 33rd pick overall out of Kentucky said he's feeling better each day and is working to be in the best shape possible to play.

“I'm playing if I’m able to, and I’m just working on trying to get to that point,” said Levis, who is 3-5 as a starter. "So that’s all I can do. I’m working with the training staff and just listening to everything I can and just treating my body right.”

If Tannehill starts, it would be his first since Oct. 15 when he suffered a high right ankle sprain in a loss to Baltimore in London. That was the same ankle that cost him five games in 2022, including the last three of the season as Tennessee finished on a seven-game skid to miss the playoffs.

The 35-year-old veteran is in the final year of his contract. He said he's fully recovered and preparing to play and trying to figure out what's going on.

"Obviously, you try to prepare as a starter every week, but a week like this week it’s a little more intense and just trying to make sure on top of everything,” Tannehill said.

Tannehill arrived in Nashville via trade in March 2019 and originally served as the backup to a young quarterback in Marcus Mariota. He took over as the starter in mid-October and held the job until his ankle injury in London.

He said he took longer than he expected to get “over the hump” with his injury. And yes, there were some tough weeks not returning to the starting lineup.

"I’ve tried to be an asset to the team, be an asset to Will and help him out as much as I could and (offensive coordinator) Tim (Kelly) with the game plan and anything I’ve seen. So definitely a different role. But you know, still try to contribute.”

Levis has thrown eight touchdown passes — six to DeAndre Hopkins — and has four interceptions compared to Tannehill with two TD passes and six interceptions.

Both have been sacked a bunch with only four NFL teams allowing more than the 50 sacks given up by the Titans (5-9). That's why Levis is dealing with a similar ankle sprain to what sidelined Tannehill.

“It’s a wild game," Tannehill said. "You never know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately this year we’ve seen a lot of QBs be affected by injuries. So ... it’s a wild, wild league. And you never know what’s going to happen.”

Levis knows that too well. He played through an injury to his right foot in college at last season. He learned a very important lesson, especially when a quarterback seen as a possible top pick if he had come out for the 2022 NFL draft wound up going at No. 33 in the second round in April.

“No one cares," Levis said. "Just go out there and play ball.”

NOTES: Levis was among eight starters of the 14 Titans who did not practice Wednesday. That group included two-time Pro Bowl DL Jeffery Simmons (right knee), who has missed two straight games, RG Daniel Brunskill (ankle) and WR Treylon Burks (illness). ... The Titans placed WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (hand) on injured reserve after practice. CB Caleb Farley (back) practiced for the first time in 13 months with his practice window opened as he remains on the physically unable to perform list. He was the franchise's first-round pick in 2021 and has started two of 12 games played. They also signed LB Garret Wallow off Houston's practice squad.