Mariani Sets Pro Bowl Return Records

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Titans return specialist Marc Mariani returns a kickoff during Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** Marc Mariani was a busy man at Sunday's Pro Bowl. With the NFC registering 55 points, the AFC's return man had plenty of opportunities, even setting some Pro Bowl records along the way.

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Mariani returned nine kickoffs for 326 yards (36-yard avg.), including a long of 52 yards, breaking Derrick Mason's record of eight set in 2004. The 326 return yards broke the previous high of 228 set by Jerry Azumah in 2004.

In comparison, Chicago's record-breaking return man Devin Hester returned five kickoffs for 100 yards, a 20-yard average.

Mariani, who also rushed two times for 11 yards on a pair of reverses, now ranks third all-time in career return yards in the Pro Bowl, trailing only Carolina's Michael Bates (488 from 1997-2001) and Cleveland's Josh Cribbs, the AFC's return man each of the previous three years (373).

"I couldn't have imagined it," Mariani said said from Honolulu. "It's on a whole other level."

The Titans' seventh-round draft pick out of Montana was appreciative of his chance to play with the NFL's best.

"For me, all I wanted was an opportunity," Mariani said, "and now I'm here and I could never have dreamed it. I have high expectations for myself, I set my goals extremely high. But the Pro Bowl was even out of my realm."

Making his second Pro Bowl appearance in the last three years, Titans safety Michael Griffin led all players in the game with eight tackles.

Running back Chris Johnson saw most of his action in the second half, rushing six times for 33 yards (5.5-yard avg.) and catching two passes for 11 yards. Johnson was making his third consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.

Starting at left defensive end, Jason Babin was credited with one tackle in his Pro Bowl debut.

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