Just a few years ago he was playing high school tennis in Havre, Montana. Then, he decided to walk on with The University of Montana Grizzly football team. Now, in his first year in the NFL, Marc Mariani was selected to play in the NFL’s Pro Bowl.
All this, of course, after some sports critics were critical of Mariani being picked for the NFL in the first place.
ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky has this:
I was hard on the Titans for the pick and didn’t like it when Fisher’s son, Brandon, a college teammate of Mariani’s at Montana, made the call to let him know he was the Titans’ seventh-round pick.
But the guy’s been a consistent producer as both the kick and punt returner. Quite frankly, he should have gotten more chances at receiver by this point in a terrible season for the team. Who called him isn’t nearly as significant as the Titans having picked him.
This is a nice moment for him, and for Fisher.
Kuharsky linked to video of the incredible phone call, where Titan’s Coach Jeff Fisher informs Mariani for the first time that he was selected for the Pro Bowl. Fisher told Mariani that he’s going to end up spending all his money flying his family “and half the State of Montana” to the Pro Bowl.
Watch the video of the phone call by clicking here. Or click below to listen to the entire audio clip
Click to Listen
KPAX-TV has more:
The rookie recently set the Titans franchise record for kick return yards in a season, a record held by Bobby Jancik for the past 47 years. His 1,317 kick return yards in 1963 no longer held up as the record after Mariani’s first kick return in the Titans’ Sunday afternoon loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That loss removed Tennessee from the playoff picture.
Mariani currently ranks fourth in the AFC in kick return average (25.2) and first in punt return average (12.9).
The NFL announced it’s Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday with Mariani slated as the AFC’s kick returner.
And, as Coach Fisher informed Mariani in the phone call referenced above- due to the limited number of players that get to travel on each of the Pro Bowl teams, Mariani will likely get a chance to play receiver during the Pro Bowl as well.