The Tennessee Titans got the 2014 NFL preseason off to a winning start. But for former Havre Blue Pony Marc Mariani, just playing in a live NFL game was exciting enough.
Mariani, who missed both the 2012 and 2013 NFL seasons due to injury, played in his first preseason game since last August on Saturday night when the Titans beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16 at a rain-soaked LP Field in Nashville.
The Titans scored three rushing touchdowns, while Mariani, who’s in his fifth Titans’ training camp, saw action as both a kick returner and at wide receiver.
In the return game, in which Mariani is in a battle for the starting job with fellow veteran Leon Washington, the former Montana Grizzly great returned Tennessee’s only kickoff. Mariani gained 13 yards on the only return of the night. Mariani also fielded punts in the first half, but didn’t have any return yardage.
He also saw extensive action at wide receiver, working mainly with the No. 2 offense and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Mariani caught two balls, including a first-down catch of 11 yards. In harsh weather conditions, he also just missed catching a touchdown pass in the second half.
In all, Mariani saw plenty of action on the field Saturday night, and considering how little time he’s had in live games the last two years, it was an exciting night, for him and the Titans.
“It feels really good to be back in football season,” Mariani said. “It feels good to come out here and go against someone else for a change, other than your teammates who you’ve been up against for the past three months. It feels good to get a win opening night, and we’re off to a good start.”
The Titans resume training camp today and will play their next preseason game Saturday night at the New Orleans Saints.