NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota fractured his fibula on Christmas Eve in Jacksonville. A few hours later, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a similar injury on the West Coast.Bah Humbug.
On Sunday, the quarterbacks will return to the field when the Titans face the Raiders at Nissan Stadium.
Mariota remembers December 24 of last year well.“I think I heard about (Carr’s injury) when we got back,” Mariota said on Wednesday. “(Seattle’s) Tyler Lockett also kind of had a similar injury. I don’t know, it was just kind of crazy.
“It’s good to see that he’s healthy, it’s good to see that he’s come back from that injury. Crazy how that happens. … (I’m) looking forward to the game and can’t wait to be back.”
On a conference call on Wednesday, Carr said he never crossed paths with Mariota this offseason, but he kept up with him from afar.
Both quarterbacks returned in time for offseason work, and played throughout the preseason.
“I’ve always followed his career, and I’ve always been a fan of his,” Carr said of Mariota. “We didn’t talk or anything like that, or have a cool story or anything like that, I’m sorry. I was definitely praying for him and wishing him well. Even throughout the recovery process, I was always thinking about it.”In three preseason games, Mariota completed 20-of-32 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, with a completion percentage of 62.5 percent, and a passer rating of 110.0.
Mariota said has a lot of respect for Carr, just the fifth player in NFL history with 80-plus touchdowns in his first three seasons. Carr threw for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns last season before the injury.“I think he’s a great player and I think it showed last season,” Mariota said of Carr. “I’ve played him a couple times. I played him in college, so I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. Guy is a great competitor. Makes all the throws, makes it look easy. I think he’s one of the better throwers in our league.”
In his second NFL season, Mariota completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 95.6 passer in 2016 before suffering the injury against the Jaguars. Mariota added 60 rushing attempts for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
He’s ready to kick off another season, and finally put the injury questions behind him.
“For sure,’’ Mariota said. “This is probably the last benchmark, this is what I worked for all offseason to be prepared for. I can’t wait, it’s been a long road and I look forward to just being out there and having fun.”