NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A bulked-up Marcus Mariota addressed the media when the team returned to the Titans' facility for the first day of offseason workouts on Monday.
Mariota simply said 'yes' when asked if he had put on 5-10 pounds, but he did go into detail about his specific purpose for adding the weight.
"I'm a little bit heavier," Mariota said. "When it comes down to it, being able to absorb the hits and be healthy for a full year, those things haven't happened yet. I am doing my best to be on the front end of it and allow myself to be able to play all 16."
Having missed a total of eight games over his career, Mariota needs to show that he can be available to the Titans for a full season if he plans on signing a lucrative contract extension. Mariota was not available for the season finale against the Colts due to a nerve injury, cracked vertebrae and torn plantar fascia. He believes adding weight will help minimize the risk that he encounters when taking hits in the pocket or when he takes off and runs.
A combination of weight training and diet went into Mariota's weight gain. He said he consumed a "good amount of calories" to be able to work out hard and not feel sluggish. Mariota doesn't have a specific weight that he is looking to reach. He said he'll continue to add weight and find a "happy medium" where he feels bigger and stronger but doesn't lose any athleticism. Mariota added that he won't have an individual development program for OTAs and doesn't have any limitations. He plans to be smart and communicate about anything that doesn't feel right.
Head coach Mike Vrabel also had an influence on the decision to pack pounds onto Mariota's frame.
"Marcus looks good...I am looking for a strong player. This is a big league," Vrabel said. "I remember playing against John Elway, Dan Marino, and these quarterbacks that are big men. I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can and he's doing everything he can to stay healthy and durable and help us on the field."