January 30, 2011
JANUARY 24, 2011
Mariani is Pro Bowl bound
Havre Daily News sports editor
The dream just keeps getting better for
former Havre High star Marc Mariani.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mariani received
one of the most exciting phone calls he’s gotten in some time. On the other end was his
Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher informing the rookie from Montana that he was
selected to represent the AFC in the 2011 Pro
Bowl. Mariani was selected to be the return
specialist for the AFC in the NFL’s elite allstar game which will take place Jan. 30 in
Mariani, the Titans’ 2010 seventh-round
draft pick (222nd overall selection), leads
the AFC and ranks third in the NFL with
a 12.9-yard punt return avg. He also ranks
fourth in the AFC and 10th in the NFL with
a 25.2-yard kickoff return average. He is the
only player in the NFL to return both a punt
and a kickoff for a touchdown in 2010 and is
just the second Titans/Oilers player to do so
in the same regular season (Billy Johnson,
1975 and 1977). He collected his first career
score with a 98-yard kickoff return against
Denver and was named AFC Special Teams
Player of the Week after posting an 87-yard
punt return for a touchdown against Washington.
Last week at Kansas City, he broke a 47year old franchise record by surpassing Bobby Jancik’s 1963 total of 1,317 kickoff return
yards. Mariani also has accumulated the
second-highest total of return yards on punts
and kickoffs in franchise history. He trails
only Derrick Mason’s 1,794 yards in 2000.
Since the team moved to Tennessee, Mariani
is the fourth Titans’ rookie to be named to
the Pro Bowl.
"It's a huge honor, especially because it's
voted on by players and coaches," Mariani
said. "I dream big, I have high expectations
for myself. But you don't allow yourself to
look ahead to something like this. You just
try to do your job and help the team win
games. But this is very special and it's a real
honor. I'm very excited."
Mariani is one of four rookies that were
selected to the Pro Bowl this year and only
one of two Titans who will be making the
trip. Tennessee defensive end Jason Babin
is the other. He will also represent Montana
in the Pro Bowl for the second straight year.
Last year, Miami Dolphins and former Griz
kicker Dan Carpenter made the trip.
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