NFL AM: Mariota Remains Unsigned, Says Deal Will Be Done Before Training Camp


Marcus Mariota remains unsigned, doesn’t expect to miss any of training camp:

All but three of the players drafted during this year’s NFL Draft have signed on the dotted line with their new clubs. Of those three, Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota remains the only first-round pick yet to forge a new pact with his NFL team.

While Mariota’s contract shouldn’t be difficult to complete before training camp rolls around in just over a month, Tennessee GM Ruston Webster says he’s unconcerned if Mariota has to miss a few days of camp.

“It’s going like most contract situations go about this time of year,” Webster told Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone. “We have had good conversations. We’ll continue to have good conversations. Looking forward to getting that done and him being in here for camp.”

While getting Mariota in for camp is imperative for Tennessee, Webster has been very impressed with the work he’s already put in.

“I think he’s done a great job to this point for a rookie quarterback coming to a new offense and a new situation,” Webster said. “Obviously very prepared when he steps on the field. I think the physical talent is evident when you watch him out here, which is really one of the main things I look for when they get here that we see in him or any player what we saw on film and live in games.

“That’s been really good. He handled himself great in situations. I like the way he deals with our team and the other players. He’s working hard at it. He’s working very hard at it. So we feel very good about it.”

It’s a bit of a surprise that Tennessee hasn’t put more of a priority on signing Mariota considering the transition the NFL game will be for him. Mariota doesn’t think there’s any chance he’ll miss any of training camp.

“It’s the furthest thing from my mind,” Mariota told NFL Media’s Tiffany Blackman at the NFL rookie symposium in regards to the possibility of missing time during training camp. “My agent is going to do his job. He’s going to do whatever it takes. It’s a business deal it takes some time. I’m happy to be a part of the organization and I’m sure it will work out.”

While Mariota and the Titans shouldn’t have trouble getting their deal in place before training camp, one is left to wonder how different the story line might be if it were Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who had yet to get a deal done.

Todd Gurley optimistic about being ready for training camp:

Before his injury, there was no question that Todd Gurley would break the recent trend of no running backs being selected in the first-round of the NFL draft, but some were concerned that his torn ACL could cause him to slide out of the first-round.

As the draft neared, it became evident that Gurley had shown NFL teams that he was on his way to being the back to the back they saw in college at the University of Georgia, and ultimately Gurley would join Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon as first-round picks.

In the end, Gurley went 10th overall to the St. Louis Rams, who view him as the kind of player they can drive their offense through. Now, as it looks evident that Gurley will be physically ready for his rookie season, the back believes he can be ready when the Rams get to training camp.

“That is definitely a goal that I’m shooting for,” Gurley told NFL Media’s Tiffany Blackmon from the NFL Rookie Symposium. “Just to be able to get out there and do at least some individual stuff. It’s looking pretty realistic. This month I’ll be in St. Louis rehabbing, so hopefully I can aim for (training camp).”

While Gurley eyes the playing field, he’s also keeping an eye in his playbook and making sure he gets the most out of meetings and off the field work so he’s as mentally prepared for his opportunity as possible.

“It’s been going pretty good,” Gurley said. “When we first came in with the rookies for minicamp, you get the install those three days and then OTAs came around, it kind of slows (the offense) down a little bit because you get to have more practices and a lot more meetings. So it’s been coming along pretty good so far.”

The Rams have the luxury of taking their time with Gurley as he was a bit of a surprise, and luxury pick for St. Louis who still have last year’s rookie tailback Tre Mason to lean on while Gurley gets ready.

Steelers to honor Jerome Bettis:

Almost a decade after “The Bus” Jerome Bettis made his final stop in Detroit for Super Bowl 40, the former Pittsburgh Steelers great will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August.

The Steelers will host Bettis and his family on Thursday night, October the 1st for a special ring ceremony where Bettis will receive his Hall of Fame ring.

A prime-time Thursday night tilt against their bitter divisional rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, should provide the perfect setting for Bettis to take his final bow in front of the Pittsburgh faithful he played in front of from 1996 to 2005.

While there are some who believe Bettis’ stats are not Hall of Fame worthy, the Hall isn’t only about statistics. Bettis will go down as one of the preeminent big backs in the history of the game, and his story of finishing on top in his home town of Detroit didn’t hurt him either.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.