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Marcus Mariota steps up for Special Olympians

Titans Uniform Football

Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk hugs tight end Delanie Walker (82) next to quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) as the NFL football team revealed its redesigned uniforms, in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP)


When Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota went to the Special Olympics event at the Titans’ stadium on Saturday, he didn’t just stay long enough to have his picture taken. Instead, Mariota made sure to have a personal interaction with each and every athlete at the event.

A video posted by the Titans showed Mariota at the event’s conclusion, not leaving until every child had caught a pass from him. The video shows one young man struggling to catch the football, and Mariota patiently continuing to throw him passes until he got one. Mariota didn’t just stand close to the kid and lob an underhand pass that would be easy to catch. Mariota knew it would mean more to the young man to catch a real pass from a real quarterback, and that’s what he did.

“I just like seeing their faces light up,” Mariota said of attending the Special Olympics. “I enjoy being around them. I think they’ve got such a great perspective on life, and they’re always so happy.”

Adam Germek, president of the Special Olympics of Tennessee, said of Mariota and the team giving their time to the Special Olympians, “I heard one of our athletes say this is the best day of his life.”