Marc Mariani's comeback has hit a snag.
Mariani, who missed all of last year with a gruesome leg injury in preseason, had moved his way back to the top of the depth chart as the returner in the preseason opener. But he also suffered a right shoulder bruise that will sideline him for a couple of weeks in preseason and could jeopardize his roster spot.
“Sometimes you get thrown challenges that kind of test you a little bit. I have a lot of time to think about my leg and really come back from it and to that,” Mariani said. “To work that hard and come back from it, this is definitely gonna be a hurdle for me. But it's one of those things that it happened, but I've got to man up and just keep grinding and do what the docs tell me and see where the cards fall.”
Mariani had been doing well on returns, nearly breaking one that was called back on a penalty
“He'll be out for a couple of weeks. He won't need surgery or anything like that, but it's gonna take a couple of weeks to heal,” Coach Mike Munchak said.
Munchak admitted that it could force the Titans' hand to make a tough decision when it comes to final cuts due to the timing.
“It's hard to tell (about that),” Munchak said. “There's no doubt it disappointing for all he's accomplished and how good he looked in the game on the returns, the one he almost broke for a touchdown, and the other one he almost broke as well.”
Mariani said the injury happened on a block, and that there was nothing out of the ordinary on the play.
“It's a little bit frustrating when things were going so good. I was just so excited to be back on the field. It was just a blocking deal and a play that's made a hundred times a game. I just got hit awkwardly or something. We can't even figure out why. It just turned out bad this time,” Mariani said. “ I know what the timing looks like. So, I'm frustrated. I felt like things were going really well. The leg was feeling better every day. It's just a setback that I've go to deal with. I've got to step up to the plate and get it done. I don't have any other choice at this point.”
While Mariani needs a couple of weeks to mend, other Titans players were given Saturday's practice off to rest, but should return soon.
Defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill was out with an elbow injury.
Fullback Quinn Johnson and safeties Daimon Stafford and Markelle Martin were out with hamstring injuries.
Center Brian Schwenkie was back on Saturday for the first time since injuring his hamstring early in camp. Schwenkie was limited to individual drills.
Linebackers Collin McCarthy (hamstring) and Zaviar Gooden (ankle) remain out, and linebacker Greg Jones was out with an ankle injury.
Kicker Rob Bironas was given another day to rest his sore back, but should kick against the Bengals next Saturday.