NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Marcus Mariota worked hard to get to this moment.
The Titans quarterback said on Wednesday's he's ready to return to action on Saturday night in the team's preseason opener against the New York Jets. It will be his first action since suffering a fractured fibula last season.
"I have been looking forward to it," Mariota said. "It's going to be a lot of fun to be out there with the guys again, and shake some of the cobwebs out. It's been a while.
"… It's been six months since I've been on the field, so just going out there, having a playclock, going through the mechanics of getting in and out of the huddle, working … all sorts of game-like scenarios. From that standpoint it is working that rust off and making sure we're ready to go once the season rolls around.
"For me, I've worked hard to get to this point. I just want to go out there and get ready with the guys."
Mariota suffered the leg injury in the team's December 24 contest against the Jaguars, had surgery, and then began a lengthy rehabilitation process.
The third-year quarterback took part in all 10 of the team's organized team activities, and in the offseason minicamp. He's looked good in training camp as well, including the team's scrimmage on Saturday night at Nissan Stadium.
But he hasn't taken a hit.
"I don't even think about that to be honest with you," Mariota said. "It is part of the game, it is a contact sport, so at some point I'll get hit and that's part of it. But I am not worried about it. I'll just go out there and prepare and get those guys going in the right direction."
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said the team still hasn't decided how much Mariota will play against the Jets.
In his second NFL season, Mariota completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 95.6 passer in 2016 before suffering the fractured fibula in a Week 16. The quarterback added 60 rushing attempts for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Mariota said he's worked on his footwork this offseason.
Along the way, he's cleared one hurdle after the next. Another one comes on Saturday.
"I think (playing in a game) will help all of us," Mariota said. "The preseason, that's what it offers. To be able to be out there with the guys, to go through game situations, and to be put in scenarios which will come up in the regular season will be beneficial for all of us."
Titans players take the field for Day 12 of the team's 2017 training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donn Jones Photography)