Heisman-winning Titan shares his faith on and off the field

by Kelly Ledbetter |

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)Sep 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tennessee Titans defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) – For Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, faith is not a candle to be hidden but to be prominently displayed.

Mariota has been outspoken about his faith throughout his college career with the Oregon Ducks, during his receipt of the Heisman Trophy this Dec., and at the advent of his NFL career with the Titans.

"Being a football player, faith plays a huge role," Mariota told Fellowship of Christian Athletes' FCA Magazine. "When things start to get rough, you find comfort in your faith. ... You do it for your teammates, your family, but also for His glory and to represent His name," Charisma News reported.

Marcus is the first Polynesian and the first player born in Hawaii to win the Heisman. During his junior year at Oregon, he completed 53 touchdowns to tie for the most in Heisman history, and his winning Heisman vote was the third highest ever, according to the Heisman website.

"I've learned that no matter what, my faith will guide me," Mariota said. "However I play on the field, I know my faith will guide me. After sports, my faith will guide me."

A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE

One of the adjustments the athlete has faced by joining the NFL is recognizing that football is now his job. Pre-game nervousness has a different effect now that Mariota is no longer a college player.

In an interview with GoDucks.com, Mariota's father, Toa, discussed his son's nerves and play.

"He was more focused," Toa Mariota said. "Because this is a job now. It's different. ... He was prepared. He was ready to go."

Oregon fans are proud to see Mariota's success and recognize the player's team spirit and humility in his behavior, his graciousness in interviews, and his gratitude to fans.

Typically of the athlete, Mariota's Heisman acceptance speech was filled with gratitude for others and acknowledgement of how his family, friends, and community helped him become the person he was.

Mariota credits the strength of the team and his training for his success so far with the Titans. As well, he continues to point toward God's faithfulness.

Before he received the Heisman, Mariota testified about what steadied him before a game. "God has taught me that I can trust in Him," the athlete said. "No matter what—whether things are good or bad—I know I can always trust in Him. And that has really allowed me to go 'all in' for Him."

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