‘I’m just excited to be a Raider’, Hawaii’s Marcus Mariota ‘ready to go’ for second season in Las Vegas after restructuring contract

Sports

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Las Vegas Raiders takes the field before their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Allegiant Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

After days of mulling a decision, Marcus Mariota will return to the Las Vegas Raiders for the 2021 season on a one-year restructured deal.

Mariota was due to make $10.625 million during the 2021 season and was recently asked to take a pay cut exceeding $7 million in order to remain with the Raiders.

“I’m just excited to be a Raider,” Mariota told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello on Tuesday afternoon. “Everyone talks about Las Vegas being the 9th island. For me, this is the closest I can get for playing for my hometown. That in itself is such a special opportunity. I’m just excited to come back and get ready to go.”

On Tuesday, the quarterback from Saint Louis agreed to return to Las Vegas for a second year at a deal worth $3.5 million in base salary, which could rise to $8 million after incentives.

“I think at the end of the day. I focus on controlling what I can control. That’s the product in the field. Everyday I wake up, I train and get ready to go. At the end of the day, we’re very blessed to play this game for a living. A lot of us make a really good amount of money. For me, I just love playing the game. The excitement, the opportunity to be a Raider, overcame all of that. To be here in Vegas, to be a part of this organization meant a lot more to me. I’m excited to be able to come back.”

After being drafted with the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, Mariota played five seasons for the Tennessee Titans before signing with the Raiders during the 2020 offseason.

“I think at the end of the day the adversities, the challenges that you face, ultimately will kind of develop who you are. I’m just excited to hopefully get over that hump. I feel like I’ve gotten healthy. I have an opportunity to have a little bit of stability, something that’s kind of been elusive in my career. I’m just excited to be in a place that I’m comfortable. I’m confident. I’m just going to do everything I can help this team win,” said Mariota.

Due to a rash of injuries, Mariota played just one game in 2020, completing 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown as well as 88 rushing yards on nine carries and an additional score in a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 17.

“I think for me to able to play again just ignited that love, that passion for the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with the victory. To me, that still stings. At the end of the day, just to be able to go out there and play meant the world to me. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of sacrifice, and at the end of the day, that was a nice little reward.”

Current Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr is currently under contract with the organization through the 2022 season.

“If it isn’t on the field, whether it’s in the locker room with the guys. This is a young group of guys, a young core team. I think the experiences that I have. Some of the things that I’m able to do athletically, will hopefully not only prepare our defense but some of these guys. These experiences that you accumulate over a period a time will hopefully help these guys. At the end of the day, I got back to controlling what I can control. The coaches and the front office make those decisions. I’m here to find out how good I can be and if I can fulfill the potential that I think is out there for me and we’ll see what happens with it.”

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