NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marcus Mariota, Mike Mularkey feels your pain.
Yes, he really does.
Like his star quarterback, the Titans head coach is spending a good part of his offseason in a walking boot — and on a scooter — after surgery.
"Marcus got a good chuckle out of it when I told him,'' Mularkey said on Friday from Pro Day at Tennessee State University, where he was getting around on crutches.
"I told him I've been needing the surgery for a while, but there weren't any scooters available. I had to wait for him and some of the others players to give up a scooter before I could have the surgery."
The reality is Mularkey suffered a ruptured tendon in his left big toe earlier this offseason. He had surgery on March 8 in Charlotte, N.C., by Dr. Robert Anderson — the same doctor who performed Mariota's surgery for a fractured fibula in December. Mariota is off his scooter now, and in a walking boot.
Mularkey uses a scooter to get around Saint Thomas Sports Park. He'll be in a cast for six weeks, but will stay in boot a little longer. He'll be on crutches during that same time.
It was Mularkey's fourth foot surgery, and his 14th surgery overall. Mularkey played tight end at the University of Florida, and he played nine seasons in the NFL.
"I kind of made fun of all the guys on scooters, and I had no idea I would be following their lead when I was kidding them,'' Mularkey said with a smile. "I know I have to be smart with it and not push it. If I don't, my back, my hips, everything else that's bad on me will be worse if I am not smart with it."
Mularkey said he'll be back for training camp. Mariota is expected to be ready for camp as well.
"Marcus is making progress, and I'm just getting started,'' Mularkey said. "But when the players are back, I'll be back. I'm not getting a lot of sympathy. It's a lot of 'you're getting old.'"