NFL

Preseason debut 'dream come true' for Marcus Mariota

Jul 31, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands off during his first day of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 31, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands off during his first day of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Friday's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons is just an exhibition, but it still marks the first NFL game for Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.

And though he doesn't figure to play much, Mariota said he's still looking forward to making his NFL debut.

"For me, it's a dream come true," Mariota said, via the Tennessean. "It's an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime dream and I'm looking forward to it. … I've been very blessed on this journey, and I'm excited."

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Mariota isn't the only one anticipating Friday's matchup in Atlanta. The game will be broadcast in the quarterback's home state of Hawaii as well.

"For me to share that moment with family and friends, it's going to be awesome," Mariota said. "All my buddies back home have been texting me this week, saying they're going to watch the game."

One thing the rookie may not be looking forward to as much is the prospect of facing an opposing defense eager to hit him. The 21-year-old said he hasn't dealt with real contact in some time.

"Obviously, Friday will be that opportunity," Mariota said. "You're going to get hit and get the cobwebs out of there. It's been a few months since I've been hit, but it'll come on Friday for sure."

(h/t The Tennessean)

Photo credit: Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports