Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota enters the final year of his contract, which pays a base salary of $20.9 million in 2019.
Mariota, however, told KHON2 in his hometown of Honolulu during his Motiv8 Foundation fundraiser that he isn’t focused on what happens beyond the upcoming season.
“My mentality as a competitor never changes,” Mariota said Monday, via KHON2’s website. “I’m going to do my best to be at my best when the season comes and do my best to win games. All that other stuff will take care of itself.
“Obviously I love Nashville, I love Tennessee. It’s a great organization to play for. With that being said, it’s a business and you can’t take any of that stuff personal. You just got to go out there and do your thing. No matter what, my No. 1 goal is to get healthy and from there just become a better football player and do my best to be my best when the season comes so we can win games.”
Mariota, who is set to play his fifth professional season, emphasized that he understands the business side of football, which is out of his control.
“There’s certain circumstances, there’s certain situations, there’s certain decisions that have to be made based upon the business and you can’t take that personal,” he said. “You just have to be your best and no matter what, do what you can do and affect the things that you can control. And from there, let the dominoes fall where they may and see where you end up.”
Nevertheless, the 2019 campaign will be crucial for Mariota, who missed time this past season with an elbow injury after starting 13 of the Titans’ 16 regular-season games.
While Mariota is the team’s clear starting quarterback, Tennessee recently traded for former Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and signed him to a one-year deal worth up to $12 million with incentives.
Since entering the league in 2015 as the second overall pick with the Titans, Mariota has posted a 27-28 record as a starter while passing for 12,004 yards and 69 touchdowns against 42 interceptions.
But short of a contract extension in the immediate future, he’ll likely need to prove to the Titans he can stay healthy and is the long-term answer in order to command a lucrative deal.
Mariota said his health is improving, though, as time back home with loved ones has proved beneficial to set up the upcoming campaign.
“I’m getting close,” Mariota said. “It’s been awesome to actually be here at home recovering. I think this has been the longest stint I’ve been home since high school.
“It’s good to be around people that genuinely care about you, that want you physically healthy. So, it’s been a blessing to be able to work with all the people here at home and I’m definitely feeling a lot better.”