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Mariota confident former coach Kelly will win again in NFL

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Quarterback Marcus Mariota is focused only on the Titans' season finale, not a reunion in Tennessee with his former Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

Mariota said Thursday he obviously has a connection to Kelly who recruited him to Oregon where he was the quarterback's coach for two seasons. The Eagles fired Kelly on Tuesday night, and the Titans (3-12) must hire a permanent coach after firing Ken Whisenhunt on Nov. 3.

''It's unfortunate that coach Kelly is in this situation, but I'm sure whatever team he ends up going to he'll find success,'' Mariota said.

Mariota already has been declared out of Sunday's season finale at Indianapolis because of a sprained right knee. Mike Mularkey is 2-6 as the Titans' interim coach. A new coach would be the quarterback's third before starting his second NFL season, which Mariota conceded is a bit daunting.

''It's part of the business, and you got to do your best to handle it and whatever happens, you only control certain things,'' Mariota said. ''You have to do the best to handle whatever's thrown at you and always take everything with a grain of salt.''

Mariota credited Kelly for a lot of his development at Oregon and said his former coach proved he could win in the NFL, especially with his first two seasons.

''To win 10 games his first two years says a lot about what he's able to do and a lot about his coaching,'' Mariota said.

Notes: LT Taylor Lewan did not practice Thursday and has yet to clear the concussion protocol. WR Kendall Wright (left knee) also did not practice with the Titans going indoors on turf.



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