When Tennessee Titans team president Steve Underwood spoke with the media prior to the hiring of the team's new general manager and head coach he stated that quarterback Marcus Mariota would likely have at least some level of imput into the hiring of the team's new coach. On Thursday we got a small view into the role that Mariota had in the process.
In a radio interview with Mike Florio of PFT from radio row at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, Mariota was asked about the possible role he played in the decision to hire Mike Mularkey as the head coach.
“I didn’t want any input or anything like that,” Mariota said during the interview with Florio. “They did ask. They asked about Chip Kelly, about Coach (Mike) Mularkey. They obviously asked my opinions about people here and there but I wanted them to make their own decision.”
Kelly was linked to the Titans job from the moment he was fired in Philadelphia because of his connection the the Titans qurterback when Kelly was his college coach at the University of Oregon. Kelly was never a candidate for the position, or at least he was never interviewed before he accepted the head coaching position for the 49ers.
Speculation immediately arose that Mariota might have rejected the idea of the rigged Kelly as his head coach in Tennessee, though there is no proof of such a scenario taking place.
Based on Mariota's character, I will take him at his word that he did not want input, and I doubt that he would have gone out of his way to discourage ownership from hiring Kelly if that were indeed the candidate they wanted.
Based on information from a source close to the search at the time, Kelly was never a serious candidate in the eyes of the Titans for reasons outside anything Mariota might have said about his former college head coach.