Bears have plan for troubled receiver Brandon Marshall
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2012 9:58PM
INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 28-16.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\GYI0059143271.jpg
Updated: April 19, 2012 8:23AM
From Virginia McCaskey on down, the Bears believe in Brandon Marshall.
Acknowledging the newly
acquired receiver’s history of
mental-health and personal-
conduct issues, general manager Phil Emery said the Bears thoroughly researched Marshall’s background and character and
believe the ‘‘great core’’ of leader-
ship in the locker room and throughout Halas Hall will help Marshall avoid further trouble.
‘‘We have a very strong core group of players who are focused on winning and are good people,’’ Emery said in a teleconference with reporters Thursday. ‘‘We believe we’re bringing him into a very strong locker-room mix of other players.’’
The Bears traded two third-round draft picks to the Miami Dolphins for Marshall, who had 81 receptions for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns last season. Marshall, a three-time Pro Bowl
selection, comes with baggage that the character-conscious Bears usually are loath to deal with. But quarterback Jay Cutler publicly campaigned for the Bears to pursue him, which was a key factor in the trade. Unfortunately, Marshall was involved in yet another alleged incident when he was
accused of punching a woman in a New York City nightclub Sunday.
Emery said he was confident coach Lovie Smith could handle Marshall, who has acknowledged he has been diagnosed with a ‘‘borderline personality disorder.’’
‘‘I think we have the right head coach for this situation,’’ Emery said. ‘‘Coach Smith is the same person day in and day out. Brandon needs that consistency. Coach Smith . . . is a demanding person. He’s also a compassionate person that players can relate to.’’
Though Smith has been criticized for various facets of his coaching style, one universally acknowledged quality is that his players are intensely loyal to him and play for him. The Bears are counting on that working positively with Marshall.
‘‘In the end, we’re talking about dealing with a player — dealing with a man — and just teaching him the things that we want to get done here,’’ Smith said. ‘‘I look forward to the challenge of helping Brandon. We think we have a situation set up where this can be beneficial to both parties.’’
Emery said the NFL has contacted the Bears about the alleged nightclub incident, but he refused to address the possibility that Marshall might be suspended or fined or whether the incident might retroactively affect the deal with the Dolphins.
‘‘We’re getting a little ahead of the process,’’ Emery said. ‘‘We will monitor the process and follow it to its conclusion.’’
Emery also was circumspect when discussing what he knew about the incident at the time the trade was made. He said Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland ‘‘was very professional in his efforts to make sure that we knew everything he knew of the situation.’’
Emery didn’t seem concerned the acquisition could become a public-relations nightmare for the Bears if the incident becomes a violence-against-women issue.
‘‘Every player is unique, and all of our employees and players are the same,’’ Emery said.
‘‘Everybody has different personality traits and different composition of their character. We feel good about where Brandon is, and . . . we see somebody that has shown the courage to admit his issues and his disorder and try to move forward.
‘‘We feel very good about how he fits with our team.’’