Bears hope new receiver Brandon Marshall’s story holds up
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 14, 2012 10:48PM
In a New York Post report, a woman alleges that Brandon Marshall (left) cold-cocked her at a nightclub. | Getty Images
Updated: April 16, 2012 8:26AM
On Jan. 8, around the time Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas were putting on a surprising postseason show in Denver, former Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall posted a message on his verified Twitter account.
“I miss Jay Cutler believing in me like that.”
The Broncos upended the Pittsburgh Steelers in a thrilling overtime game in which Tebow and Thomas connected four times for 204 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown in a 29-23 victory.
A short time later, Cutler responded and referenced Marshall’s old jersey number.
“I can get #15 out of storage!” Cutler wrote on his Twitter account.
On Tuesday, the Bears reunited Cutler and Marshall, sending two third-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to acquire the three-time Pro Bowl receiver. But hours later, reports surfaced that Marshall and his wife were involved in a fracas at a New York City nightclub early Monday morning.
Marshall’s attorney issued a statement saying his client’s group wasn’t involved in a fight that erupted and that his client’s wife was hit in the face with a bottle. That contrasted with a New York Post report in which a woman alleges that Marshall “cold-cocked” her and gave her a black eye.
On Wednesday, Bears general manager Phil Emery, Cutler and agent Kennard McGuire came to Marshall’s defense, vouching for his character, despite a handful of arrests and other incidents, and downplaying any repercussions.
“I caution about rushing to judgment. Let’s not forget that Brandon and his wife are victims,” McGuire told the Sun-Times. ‘‘It’s no different than a guy being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Asked if Marshall will face any punishment from the NFL, McGuire said, “He’s fine, and he’s going to be fine.
“Honestly, we’re focused on the trade and him being in Chicago and coming in and being a part of a team that’s winning.”
That was also the sentiment of Emery in a statement issued by the team, making clear the Bears were aware of the incident before finalizing a trade with the Dolphins.
“We decided to move forward with the trade,” Emery said. “We have high expectations for Brandon as a Bear.”
So did the Broncos and Dolphins.
Marshall is 27, and he played at a Pro Bowl level for both of those teams. But both traded him away, although McGuire suggested that his client wanted out of Miami.
“I give Jeff a tremendous amount of credit for working with me,” McGuire said, referring to Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. “He and I have always been aligned with what we were wanting and looking for with Brandon. That’s being a part of a situation that works with his skill set and what he brings to an organization.”
But what the Bears can’t afford are Marshall-induced headaches.
If the Bears want a pass for the Sam Hurd embarrassment, they can’t take on a problem player just months later.
That’s why Marshall’s story holding up is essential for Emery, Cutler and McGuire. If the allegations are true — that he struck a woman in the face — then Marshall could face a multigame suspension.
“I know he has a checkered past, and Brandon is the first one to stand up and admit to that. But I know deep down he’s a good guy,” Cutler said on ESPN 1000 Wednesday. “He made some mistakes. But going forward, I see nothing but bright things for the guy.”
Cutler went so far as to insist that his sole mission will be to keep Marshall out of nightclubs late at night.
Asked about Emery pulling off the trade, Cutler said, “I find it very hard to believe he’d pull the trigger knowing that something wrong happened and Brandon was at fault.”
That, McGuire said, is why Marshall is so grateful.
“That speaks volumes,” McGuire said when asked about the Bears completing the trade despite the incident. “He’s coming to such a historic organization, and playing under coach Lovie Smith and being reunited with Jay Cutler and Jeremy Bates speaks volumes about his level of excitement and how enthused he is about this opportunity.
“His only focus is winning.”
Many within the organization — not to mention countless fans — are counting on that.