Maj. Gen. Max Haston said it was a memorable experience for the soldiers and airmen.
“The Titans were gracious enough to take them in the press box, and ‘Voice of the Titans’ Mike Keith — who is the Titans to all of us who listen and watch TV — gave them a tour,” Maj. Gen. Haston said. “The real added surprise was they got to come down to the locker room where we have some Titans players down here, and Mike Keith escorted them and they got to meet the cheerleaders, so it’s a pretty neat deal. Not everybody gets to walk into the Titans’ locker room, so this is very special.”
|Titans rookie Justin Hunter thanked members of the Tennessee National Guard who are also Titans season ticket holders. |
Click here for a slideshow.
Mariani, who has worked incredibly hard to return from a broken leg he suffered last August, said meeting the soldiers and airmen was another exciting aspect of the season being so close. Mariani will join Titans teammates in the same space on Aug. 8 when the Titans open preseason play by hosting Washington.
“The level of enthusiasm that’s in this room right now is pretty awesome, and these guys live and die on Sundays with us, so we try to give everything back,” Mariani said. “It’s fun to be here and surprise these guys. I think when we came out they were pretty pumped. It’s fun to put a smile on people’s faces and give them a little distraction. Hopefully on Sundays the support will pay off and we’ll put some ‘Ws’ on the board.”
Maj. Gen. Haston said the tour and surprise visit were a great continuation of the solid relationship with the Tennessee National Guard and the team.
“Every soldier or airman who is in here has deployed, and most of us more than once or twice,” Maj. Gen. Haston said. “The Titans’ organization has really supported the Tennessee National Guard and the military community as a whole. We appreciate not only the community support here in Nashville but also our hometown team.”
Hunter, a rookie out of the University of Tennessee who was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, said it was another great experience at the onset of his NFL career.
“It made me feel real good to hand the tickets out and let them know we appreciate the season ticket holders,” Hunter said.
Hunter and Mariani said they were happy to deliver their personal thanks on a day when teammates also delivered season tickets to Titans fans.
“This is some of the best stuff we get to do, and it’s a great part of this job,” Mariani said. “We’re so happy to be here, and it’s that time of year again where we’re excited, the season ticket holders are getting back on their feet and they’re rallying for us, and to be able to come back and meet people face-to-face and shake hands and talk to them on a more personal level is always fun.
“The Armed Forces do so much for us,” Mariani added. “We’re just extra blessed and excited to be here.”