This NFL Draftee Didn’t Sign a $20 Million Contract Because He Wants to Go Surfing
by Owen James Burke
Photo: Surfing Magazine.
Marcus Mariota, a rookie quarterback for the Tennessee Titans and this year’s only unsigned first-round draft pick (2nd overall), just turned down a $20 million dollar contract because, well, he wants to surf, and the NFL franchise has included a clause in the arrangement that bars him from surfing because they believe it’s too dangerous. (I could write an endless diatribe regarding the absurdity of this matter, but I’ll spare you, and myself, from what could quite possibly end in convulsion.)
You can just imagine the soliloquy–“to sign, or not to sign…and surf”–that might have played out behind closed doors in Mariota’s bedroom before he decided to reject the Tennessee Titans’ initial offer. There are a million reasons why professional athletes refuse to sign contracts, and while I don’t have the statistics at hand, I’d put my last surfboard down that greed can be attributed to the majority of these decisions.
Then there’s Marcus Mariota. An anomaly, a rogue.
Marcus Mariota, laid with his 2014 Heisman Trophy, which he earned with the Oregon Ducks. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images.
I can’t blame him (and neither should anyone). And in fact, I can’t deem him anything but, in my own humble opinion, a vanguard, a hero. But then I’m not much for football in the first place.
Make no mistake about it, Mariota is a hot commodity within the league–the second-hottest, at this exact moment–and he will play, but on his own terms, mind you, and most certainly not at the expense of his wave gliding.
“I’m not worried about it at all,” Mariota told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “It’s a business deal and it’s going to take some time. That’s why you hire your agent.”
It’s also in the talks that he might be traded over to the Philadelphia Eagles, who’ll surely have to oblige his nautical inclinations.
Tiaina Baul “Junior” Seau Jr, effervescent. Photo: ESPN.
What this juxtaposition of surfing and football–and the hypothetical dangers of both activities–does call into discourse is the tragic suicide of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau. Seau’s head went so concussed throughout his career that at 43 years old–just a mere two years into his sun-soaked surf-laden retirement in Hawaii–he was suffering from such agonizing trauma that he took his own life. Most 40-something-year-olds that I know who surf are in damn fine shape, have never broken much more than a finger or a toe, let alone their noggin, and will surf well into their retirement.
So, if I may enlist my own two cents, if there’s a water sport that NFL franchises should consider prohibiting their athletes from participating in, it’s only reasonable that they should enumerate the myriad tragedies professional athletes have both suffered and inspired aboard personal watercraft like jet skis throughout the years.
Read more at Oregon Live. -OJB