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NFL Agent: Marcus Mariota 'Quit on the Falcons' and 'It Was Unfair' to Desmond Ridder

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 2, 2023

ATLANTA, GA  DECEMBER 04:  Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) drops back to pass during the NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons on December 4th, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One NFL agent criticized Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota and his handling of being benched earlier this season.

"I thought Mariota quit on the Falcons, and it was unfair to a rookie like Desmond Ridder, who was there for Mariota to that point in the season," the agent told Mike Sando of The Athletic.

Mariota started the first 13 games for Atlanta this season, but was benched at the Week 14 bye after four losses in five games. Rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder was elevated to QB1, but Mariota left the team to deal with a knee injury.

"Of course, you want all your guys to be here, but guys have to make decisions," Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. "It's part of professional sports. You have to have contingency plans."

Mariota hadn't missed a snap due to injury all year and Smith said the knee hadn't been an issue until the quarterback was benched.

Ridder might've benefited from veteran leadership over his first three starts, but Mariota decided to step away from the organization. The decision could hurt the 29-year-old going forward if he is looking for another job in the offseason.