Titans players have repeatedly said how excited they’ve been to participate in this year’s offseason program, but Marc Mariani might be most appreciative of the opportunity.
The former seventh-round draft pick rarely, if ever, has conducted an interview without expressing how thankful he is to be in the NFL. That was the case during his first training camp, after he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie return specialist in 2010 and in each subsequent training camp.
It’s still true, possibly even double-stamped, considering the amount of work the fourth-year pro has put in to return to the field after suffering a broken leg on August 23 in a preseason game against Arizona.
“Every rep for me is huge just because I need to make up for time lost, so I’d say I’m getting there,” Mariani said. “I’m gaining confidence but it’s definitely a battle and I’ve still got some work in front of me so it’s good to be able to participate and not have to wait to be able to be thrown in there, but I definitely have some work to do.”
Mariani endured surgery and said rehab in September, October and November was particularly challenging.
“They were tough (months), and I definitely had a lot of support from ‘Titans Nation’ and my family and friends back home,” Mariani said. “It’s been hard to get to this point. I’m just excited to be here and optimistic about the future.
“I’m working hard every day, and that’s kind of where I’m at,” Mariani continued. “I push through some things and some things I’ve got to hold back on, but kind of day-to-day, week-to-week, I’m just trying to improve and keep progressing as I have been.”
Jake Locker, who went through physical therapy after having his shoulder surgically repaired in January, said he’s happy that Mariani has made it this far back and knows that he’ll keep fighting.
“Marc’s a personal friend of mine and I think a lot of people really enjoy watching him or are a fan of his, so to be able to see him come back and be doing so well, recovering so well from a pretty brutal injury, it’s encouraging,” Locker said. “You’re happy for him. He’s a good guy, he works hard and I think he deserves that opportunity.”
Tags: Marc Mariani, Tennessee Titans
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