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Mariota Became 'Somebody That I Didn’t Recognize' With Titans

The Las Vegas Raiders' current backup quarterback believes his five years with Tennessee will have a positive impact on his NFL future.

Marcus Mariota does not regret his five years with the Tennessee Titans. It is clear though, that he also does not relish everything that happened during that time.

In a video interview this week with the Las Vegas Raiders’ website, the former Titans quarterback reflected briefly on his Tennessee tenure, which started when he was the second overall pick in the 2015 draft and ended in 2019 when he lost his job as the starting quarterback.

“I look at it, and I’ve learned a lot in terms of the business standpoint [of the NFL],” Mariota said. “But at the same time, I think I just learned about being myself. I think so much of the expectations that I had in Tennessee kind of carved out somebody that I really didn’t want to be and somebody that I didn’t recognize.

“… Taking that experience – I truly understand that was kind of part of my journey. Everyone’s journey is a little different, and I can use that going forward. And we’ll see what happens with my career.”

He did not expand on what exactly he did not like.

Mariota, a Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon in 2014, is now in his second season with the Raiders as the backup to Derek Carr. He appeared in one game last year when Carr got injured and agreed to a pay cut this offseason in order to remain with them.

What coach Jon Gruden called “a sore leg” caused Mariota to miss several days of practice during training camp. He did not play in any of the three preseason contests.

“I felt with this staff, with this quarterback room that I could become the best of my abilities,” Mariota said. “I’ve really learned a lot. I’ve really absorbed a lot over the last couple years. And to be around these guys, to see the high level of play from (Carr) has been – for me – just a learning experience. … I’m happy to be here, and I’m happy to be a part of this organization.”

With Tennessee, Mariota started 61 of the 63 games he played and directed a playoff victory over Kansas City in 2017. Injuries were a consistent issue, however, and he never played all 16 games in a single season.

In contrast to many other recent Titans first-round picks, franchise officials did exercise the fifth-year option on his contract. That earned him a massive salary of $20.922 million in 2019, the season in which he lost his job.

He put Tennessee in the past in 2020 when he became a free agent and signed with Las Vegas.

“To be able to see that now from a different vantage point and a different perspective, and to come here and just enjoy football again and enjoy being on the field, having fun with these guys has made my life just a whole lot happier and just a lot more enjoyable,” Mariota said.