Tennessee Titans

Titans owner: Mike Mularkey is our head coach moving forward

Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk says that coach Mike Mularkey is going nowhere after helping change the team’s culture and getting their first playoff victory in 14 years.

Strunk issued a statement Sunday afternoon trying to dispel rumors and reports that “gained a life of their own.”

The owner says no one has been a bigger supporter of Mularkey than she has since making him interim head coach in November 2015.

“Mike Mularkey is our head coach and will be our head coach moving forward. Our mantra all season has been to take things week by week and not get ahead of ourselves and it obviously has served us well. I regret that outside rumors gained a life of their own. No one has been a bigger supporter of Mike Mularkey than I have over the last two plus seasons. Mike and Jon have changed the culture of our team and organization and I am so happy we have been able to bring success on the field to our fans – winning 19 games over the last two seasons, including our first playoff win in 14 years. Just to eliminate any distractions moving forward, Mike Mularkey is our head coach and will be our head coach moving forward. We still have work to be done, including this week, but I am looking forward to the journey.”

The Titans finished the regular season 9-7. In his first full season as head coach in 2016, Mularkey also guided the Titans to a 9-7 record, tripling the team’s win total from the previous season.

The Titans will start preparations this week for their first AFC divisional playoff game since January 2009. They will face the Patriots or the Steelers.

Mularkey told reporters that his job was on the line after the Titans beat Kansas City 22-21 on Saturday, saying he assumed the worst.

He also said he was frustrated that the Titans did nothing to quiet what he called “ridiculous” uncertainty regarding his job security.

“I haven’t had any support to say I was [safe],” Mularkey said Saturday after his first playoff appearance as a head coach. “I just assumed the worst.

“I don’t think it’s fair to my family. When it has an effect on my family, it has an effect on me. So it had a big effect on me.”

Reports of Mularkey’s potential departure from Tennessee — because of quarterback Marcus Mariota’s regression and the team’s overall offensive struggles this season — began weighing on him and his family over the past few weeks, he said. He spent several minutes before the Titans’ win over the Chiefs taking pictures and soaking in the moment with his wife, Betsy.

This is Mularkey’s third head-coaching job; he was unsuccessful in his first two stops, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. Strunk hired Mularkey before Titans general manager Jon Robinson arrived.

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