Mariota Hopes to Reward Family, Friends with Victory

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota returned to Oregon over the weekend, when his Heisman Trophy was given a Hawaiian blessing.

"In the culture I grew up in, something that is special, we tend to bless it,'' Mariota explained after Wednesday's practice. "The blessing is for the purpose of signifying a sanctuary and creating peace, to bring a peaceful atmosphere to that special place."

Mariota said it was great to be back on the campus at Oregon, where he spent time with his family, and had a chance to see some of his old teammate and coaches.

Many of them asked questions about the Titans.

"They watch a lot of the games,'' Mariota said. "For the most part they kind of tell me to keep my head up and keep going. They are big Tennessee fans now, which is pretty cool. I got a lot of questions about Nashville and moving out here. So it was good to get back, and good to talk to those guys."

What does he tell them about Nashville?

"I say the food is great, the people are awesome, and the community has been incredible to me,'' Mariota said. "Hopefully a lot of them will make it out here at some point. But they are excited about it."

This Sunday, a group of nearly 150 Mariota fans with ties to Saint Louis School are traveling to Nashville for Sunday's game vs. the Oakland Raiders. A big group is flying out of Honolulu, while some are coming from different states on the mainland. Mariota graduated from the high school in 2011.

Mariota said the group is going to Opryland, and will do some sightseeing as well.

"It will be fun to see them,'' Mariota said. "It is always good to see family from home, and people that I grew up.  So I look forward to it."

Mariota said he'd like to reward the visitors on Sunday with a win.

The team is 0-5 at Nissan Stadium this season.

"Obviously it is frustrating, but a lot of it, it builds up your motivation to play well,'' Mariota said. "There is no added pressure on anything like that. We just want to go out there and play our game and hopefully secure a win at home.

"We are not throwing away this season at all. Our focus is on what's going on here and now and how we can get better and improve for this week, and try and get some wins."

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