A report from Chris Mortensen of ESPN on Sunday morning broke the news that Marcus Mariota would not start at quarterback for the Titans on Sunday night and added that there was long-term concern about his health.
Mariota has been dealing with nerve trauma related to the stinger he suffered in Week 16 and, per the report, a spine specialist told the team that further damage could impact his ability to throw the ball in the future. After the Titans lost to the Colts, head coach Mike Vrabel was asked about that report and Mariota’s overall condition.
“Marcus didn’t play tonight and I’m not going to go into much detail of where he’s at physically and the decisions,” Vrabel said, via the Tennessean. “It was a decision that a lot of people came together and made. He wasn’t out there tonight. He wasn’t available. All of our players want to play. Every single guy wants to play. That’s why they’re in the business. Sometimes that’s not always possible. … We made the decision that Marcus wasn’t going to play tonight. We’ll continue to evaluate him.”
Mariota dealt with recurring issues with his arm over the course of the season and he’s had assorted injury issues throughout his four-year career that have led to questions about his durability. The Titans exercised their $20.9 million option on his contract for next season, but another year where he’s questionable to play much of the time would likely impact their feelings about signing the 2015 first-round pick to a longer deal..