|Steve Mitchell/US Presswire|
|Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (right) and the South Florida community have welcomed Ryan and Lauren Tannehill.|
DAVIE, Fla. -- Lauren Tannehill returns the phone call in the afternoon. Yes, Ryan Tannehill is the rookie quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. He's coming off the first win of his NFL career, and now it's Jets Week in Miami.
We thought we'd check in with Lauren.
Lauren is Ryan's wife. The blonde. With green eyes. Aspiring model. Guys, we're relatively certain you remember her. Well.
Bloggers love Lauren Tannehill. So do websites. Full disclosure, NFL.com is no different. Just ask the editor who dreams of page views when he knows he can showcase Lauren Tannehill on the site.
"It's crazy," she said, laughing. "I'm not that interesting."
Well, like so many things, that is in the eye of the beholder. "Hard Knocks" found her interesting. HBO's five-part series showcased the Dolphins during training camp. (The show was a rousing success; final numbers aren't yet available, but the first four episodes averaged 4.3 million viewers, making it the second-most watched "Hard Knocks" since 2002, trailing only the 2010 Jets.)
"This was a tremendous series for HBO and our viewers responded," an HBO spokesman wrote in an email. "Lauren was in every episode."
She was shown visiting her husband at training camp. Watching a preseason game in the rain with tackle Jake Long's wife, Jackie. Helping Ryan put together an IKEA table. (Or was he helping her?) Asking Ryan after practice to sign autographs for special needs fans.
"I actually didn't have any idea what to expect; I like to keep our life kind of private," she said. "But I thought the show accurately portrayed (us). They can make you look any way they want to on TV. I didn't know what they were going to make of me. I thought they really did a good job."
Because of "Hard Knocks," Lauren received overtures for reality TV opportunities, which she said she has declined. Her focus is on marriage and on limiting distractions for her husband.
"I want him to have the same, normal me," she said.
Twitter's response was fast and furious: In the 10 minutes after Ryan was drafted, 800 tweets were sent. About his wife. She humbly describes recent events as "very surreal."
The Tannehills were wed Jan. 13 in Mexico. At his introductory press conference in south Florida, a reporter asked Ryan about being married young. (He's 24, she'll be 25 next month.) Ryan replied by pointing to his wife and said, "Can you blame me?"
Given social media's response to his wife -- she still gets marriage proposals, some indelicately worded -- it's probably a good thing Ryan isn't the jealous type. "He gets a total kick out of it," Lauren said. "He's a confident guy. It never bothers him. He has fun with it."
The Tannehills' love story is one they will delight in telling their children someday: Though both were Texas A&M students -- who attended the same church, no less -- they didn't meet until spring break 2009, in Panama City, Fla. The connection was instant.
"Yeah, I mean, he's cute. And tall," she said. "I told my mom, this is too good to be true."
They are committed to their faith and their families. They share a taste for Mexican food -- the spicier the better -- and ice cream. (Yes, she eats ice cream. And chicken wings. "I could eat pizza every day," she adds almost apologetically. She is, after all, 5-foot-7 and a size 0/2.) By the next time they traveled to the state of Florida -- after the draft -- they were married college graduates, devoted to their "kids" of the moment: Cocoa the dachshund and Bear the black Labrador retriever. And, oh yeah, Ryan was the first quarterback drafted in the first round by the Dolphins since Dan Marino in 1983.
Ryan and Lauren Tannehill, welcome to the dream of a lifetime. "A day doesn't pass where we don't thank God for where we are," Lauren said.
While her husband is at work, where he spends seven hours on an off day watching tape, Lauren stays busy pursuing a modeling career with endorsement and commercial opportunities, and with house renovations. She and Ryan are involved with Special Olympics; she finds it difficult to say no to any charitable endeavor that benefits children.
And when Ryan gets home from work, there is often more tape to watch, as the endless search to learn an opponent really never ends for a young quarterback. At Texas A&s;M, Lauren watched tape with Ryan on Sundays. Now, she has found, the job is of the seven-day variety. She still watches.
"When you know what you're watching it helps you appreciate what you're seeing," she said. "You enjoy it more."
She knows football. "A lot of people from Texas know football," she says happily.
Lauren is not incidental to her husband's career or his early success. When Dolphins coach Joe Philbin named David Garrard the starter in training camp, "I told Ryan to look at it as a blessing. Learn from it, take it as a chance to learn from David and Matt (Moore) because they all get along so well.
"He's competitive. He wanted to start," she says. "As his wife, I wanted him to take it in stride."
Garrard's knee injury provided the opportunity for Tannehill. He was an NFL winner for the first time Sunday, as the Dolphins defeated the Raiders, 35-13.
"We're so excited, so grateful," Lauren said. "He was such a stud out there, so comfortable."
In describing Tannehill, Philbin says he "doesn't seem to be in awe or surprised too much," and teammate Reggie Bush uses the word "poised." Jets coach Rex Ryan says he couldn't tell by watching tape that Tannehill is a rookie. "He's very confident back there," Ryan adds.
"He doesn't get riled up," she said. "He takes it game by game."
"I'm the one who's jumping around the living room," she says. "I'm the one saying, 'We need to win them all.' "
Follow Kimberly Jones on Twitter @KimJonesSports.