Havre's Mariani Family Enjoys Being NFL Parents - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Havre's Mariani Family Enjoys Being NFL Parents

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Sometimes it's difficult to catch Steve and Julie Mariani at home in Havre.

For years the two have traveled to watch their son, Marc, play football. They never missed a home game when he went from walk-on to star with the Griz. The distance to games grew further after Marc was drafted into the NFL but the Mariani's still attend as many games as they can.

"It's a little further now, mostly airplanes," says Steve Mariani. "But I don't think it's 'have to." I think it's 'get to.' We 'get to." It's what we do."

It's just one of the many sacrifices that the parents of a professional athlete gladly to make. And even after six years as a pro, including a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, sometimes it's still hard for Steve and Julie to believe that they are the parents of an NFL player. Marc was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

"You need to almost pinch yourself and go, 'is this really happening?'" says Steve. "This can't really be happening. First of all, just being in the NFL."

"To be able to have my parents there was phenomenal," says Marc. "Every kid dreams of that and every kid grows up.....imagining playing on Sunday's and going to Hawaii and playing with the best in the world. And we got to do that. Words can't really describe those moments."

Marc's career has had plenty of memorable moments he's shared with two of his biggest fans. Including draft day when he was selected in the 7th round by the Tennessee Titans in 2010.

"That was a painful day," Julie joked. "It was just the three of us. It was Steve and myself and Marc and we were in Missoula in the house they lived in. It was hard. There was a pick every time he had a chance for and then it want by. And then another pick came...as a parent, just to watch your child just wait and then it's there. It was just exciting. Exciting for his new chapter."

Eventually the three celebrated when the Titans drafted Marc with the 222nd overall pick. But the hardest moment was when Marc suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2012.

"It was an awful moment," says Steve. "I paused it, I knew he was hurt. Marc is this player that, every time he's in a pile, he jumps up....and he wasn't getting up and I paused it and I knew he was hurt. But the phone rang five minutes later."

Marc called Julie while he was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

"I saw him calling, and I was like, 'what the heck'" says Julie."He said, 'mom how are you,' and I said 'not great' and he said, 'you need to calm down. It's just a broken leg. I'm going to be okay."

"She was most definitely my first call," says Marc. "I called her because I knew she would be in much pain as I was. So I wanted to make sure she was doing alright. Because I knew she would be a wreck after seeing that."

Marc would eventually make his return to the NFL. A long up-hill battle that he credits to the support of his parents.

"Their support meant everything to me throughout the years," says Marc. "Without them having my back in the early years, of when I became a walk-on at the University of Montana and helping me get through school, I needed their support. The support they've given me and my sisters our entire lives is kind of the backbone of where I am today."

From the Ponies, to the Griz, to the Titans and now the Bears. Marc has been a Montana ambassador during his entire professional career. And wherever football takes him next, his parents will be there. No matter how far they have to travel.

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