NFL

Tennessee DC Pees retires as Mariota thanks Titans for opportunity

By Sports Desk January 20, 2020

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired after Sunday's playoff exit at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs while Marcus Mariota expressed gratitude as his career with the team nears a likely end.

The Titans' Cinderella playoff run came to an end in the AFC Championship game, Tennessee missing out on a place in the Super Bowl with a 35-24 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.

It was a game that marked the end of a 40-year coaching career for Pees, who won Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

Mariota was selected second overall by the Titans in 2015 but has not been able to live up to the expectations that came with his lofty draft position.

He lost the starting quarterback job to Ryan Tannehill after a Week 6 defeat to the Denver Broncos and, though he did play two snaps in the postseason, he was left largely to watch from the sidelines as his replacement excelled.

Mariota is a free agent this offseason and appears destined for a change of scenery.

"The organisation took a chance on me, and I felt like I gave them everything I've got," Mariota told reporters as the Titans players cleaned out their lockers on exit day.

"Obviously, we're not sure what is going to happen. But I know when it is all said and done, I gave this organisation everything I could.

"It is never easy, but being around these guys, being around this coaching staff, they helped me along with it. I've built a lot of relationships with these guys, and it's been truly special.

"No matter what, this game will be done for all of us at some point, but the relationships will last. I am truly grateful for the time with these guys."

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