NASHVILLE – Marcus Mariota's 2018 season was over, and he was admittedly down.
The Titans quarterback sat out the finale against the Indianapolis Colts in December because of a nerve injury that frustrated him all season.
As he walked off the field at Nissan Stadium on December 30, he was approached by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
"He took the opportunity after the game to come up and talk to me," Mariota said of Luck. "For me, as a young player, that meant a lot. He kind told me to keep fighting through it, that it is a journey, but not to worry about the ups and the downs and to just learn from it and to get healthy as quickly as possible.
"For a guy who just beat us to get into the playoffs, for him to take time to come say that to me, it meant the world."
On Saturday night, Luck announced his retirement from the NFL in a decision that sent shockwaves around the league. Luck cited injuries, and the exhausting rehab process, as the reasons for draining his love for the game.
Mariota, set to begin his fifth NFL season, was among those caught off-guard with the decision. Following Tennessee's 18-6 preseason loss to the Steelers on Sunday night, Mariota wished Luck well.
"I was kind of like everyone else – I was surprised," Mariota said. "With my interactions with Andrew over the last few years, he is such a great guy off the field. He is obviously a great player. The interactions, just how nice he was to me as a young guy. I wish him nothing but the best.
"That's got to be a hard decision, but it seems like he's at peace with it. For us, guys that are playing, that's all you want. You want guys to go out on their own terms … so I am happy for him. He seems like he is in a good place, and again, I have nothing but good things to say about him. I wish him the best."