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Raiders GM: 'We've Got To Rebuild' Mariota

Mike Mayock believes the former Tennessee Titans quarterback needs his confidence and physical health restored

Mike Mayock decided to pay Marcus Mariota more than $8 million a season – possibly more – to join the Las Vegas Raiders.

Yet the second-year general manager spoke about Mariota more like the Six Million Dollar Man when asked about the former Tennessee Titans quarterback during a conference call Tuesday.

“He’s got to get healthy,” Mayock said. “We’ve got to rebuild him a little bit, get his confidence back, build him up from the ground up. It’s going to take a little while, I think, just to get him healthy and where he wants to be, but we’re excited about the quarterback room.”

For those too young to know about the Six Million Dollar Man, a 1970s television series, the setup included the following quote from Oscar Goldman, one of the primary characters. “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man.”

Mariota does not need bionics, but he was battered during his five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. His injuries included multiple knee sprains, a shoulder sprain, an elbow sprain a tight strain, a broken leg and, in 2018, a cervical nerve issue that some speculate remained a factor last season.

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Mayock, however, said he and Raiders coach Jon Gruden have complete confidence in Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oregon. At the time Mariota entered the NFL as the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Mayock and Gruden were television analysts who devoted a lot of time and energy to the pre-draft process. Both liked him at that time.

“The cool thing with my background and Jon’s background is a lot of things that we said and did in our past are public,” Mayock said. “So, if you’re Marcus Mariota and you want to know what the general manager of the Raiders thought about him before he came out, or what Jon Gruden thought about him before he came out, all you’ve got to do is go back and check public records.

“I mean, he went through Gruden’s quarterback camp on television. I had him as the top quarterback in that draft. He knew that both of us believed in him coming out and still believe in him.”

Mariota signed a two-year, $17.6 million free agent contract with the Raiders last month, presumably to be the backup to Derek Carr, a starter for all six years of his NFL career. The deal includes a number of incentives that will drastically increase the salary if Mariota becomes the starter and performs well.

Publicly, Mariota has said only that he wants to work well with Carr, not take his job.

“I thought Marcus did a great job with first couple of interviews he had, just talking about where he was, which is wanting to support Derek,” Mayock said. “He wants to become the best version of Marcus Mariota that he can become, and that’s the way we look at it.”