Marc Mariani Excited About Facing his Old Team Sunday

mariani600-112316.jpg


**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Sandwiched in between Marc Mariani's two stints with the Titans: a two-year period with the Chicago Bears.

Mariani played in 22 games in 2014-15 with the Bears before being released on September 3. The Titans signed him two days later, and he'll return to Chicago this Sunday when the team faces the Bears.

"It is one of those things where you pick up the calendar early in the season and you circle it, and you get excited about it,'' Mariani said. "You always want to show up and help your new team win and beat the guys who let you go.

"But I have nothing but great things to say (about the Bears). That organization is top-notch from the top down, and they treated me great. Love the city, love the fans. No hard feelings, it's a business. But I want to go up there and get a big win for sure."

Bears coach John Fox said the team struggled with the decision to part ways with Mariani.

"We love Marc," Fox said during a conference call on Wednesday. "There probably wasn't a more well-liked guy on our team. Any time when you get to those final cut-downs, guys like Marc are why you hate final cut-down day. He did everything we asked, he's a great teammate, he's a leader in the locker room. I'm sure you guys have been able to see that with your time with him there."

Mariani, a seventh-round pick by the Titans in 2010 who made it to the Pro Bowl that year, has played in 11 games for the Titans this season. He's averaging 7.1 yards on 21 punt returns in 2016 with the Titans, and 22.1 yards on 20 kickoff returns.

Mariani is ranked third in the AFC in kickoff return average, with a long of 37, and ninth in punt return average.

Mariani is currently ranked second in franchise history behind Billy "White Shoes" Johnson with 10.3-yard average on punt returns, and he's also ranked second in franchise history (behind Bobby Jancik) with a 24.3-yard average on kick returns.

Mariani should get some chances on Sunday against a Chicago team that's ranked 29th on punt coverage and 22nd on kick coverage.

Mariani is ready for the game, and a return trip to Soldier Field.

"That stadium is right up there on the lake, and there's virtually no days of nice weather in Chicago," Mariani said. "So you learn to have to deal with the swirling winds and whatever else Mother Nature throws at you. You have to prepare and it's a challenge.

"And their fans, they are very passionate fans and they don't take too well to teams coming in like the Tennessee Titans, and beating them at home. So it will be exciting to go up there and take that challenge on."

Titans Online looks back at the career of WR/KR Marc Mariani. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

Related Content

Advertising