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Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall are responsible, happy campers

Updated: September 1, 2014 8:06AM

BOURBONNAIS — Quick, someone buy

“This is a different person,” Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, perched on a golf cart after practice Wednesday, said of quarterback Jay Cutler. “I don’t know this new guy. I don’t know this new Jay Cutler.

“Maybe his new name is, like, Joshua or something, just a totally different guy.

“Let’s call him Joshua, Joshua Cutler.

“That’s what the ‘J’ stands for.”

If Jay Ratliff can became Jeremiah, why not?

“It’s night and day,” Marshall said. “He’s a totally different person, totally different athlete.”

Cutler Maturity Theory is taught this time every year on the Olivet Nazarene University campus.

The 2014 corollaries have included Cutler’s conversion van, his new child and conversations with tight end Martellus Bennett about investing in franchise businesses.

“I think he has a great balance to his life now with his personal stuff,” Marshall said.

“I won’t go there — he hates when people go there with his personal stuff.

“I love him, and I love catching balls, so let’s keep it.”

It would be easy to. But there was another story of maturity to tell at training camp.

This time, Marshall was the subject. Standing proudly and watching from the sideline was one of his mentors — former Cowboys star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.

“I was watching this practice with a smile,” Irvin said, “because I was there [then].”

His old friend saw many of Marshall’s lowest moments — disasters both personal and professional, in Denver and Miami — up close.

“Brandon always, even when things were not going well, would talk about feeling the calling in his life,” Irvin said.

“It was a calling, and he was just trying to work it out and decide and discern what is a great leader.”

Irvin saw evidence after practice. Rather than conduct an interview alone with Irvin’s NFL Network, Marshall brought Bennett and wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson with him.

“Those are the guys that are going to win games,” Marshall said. “When I say that, I mean it could be Alshon’s day, it could be [Wilson’s] day, it could be Marty’s day.

“It could be my day. That’s just how our offense is set up.

“It’s not about me. It’s not just about [running back] Matt [Forte] or Jay.

“It’s about the group.”

Irvin — who, Bears coach Marc Trestman understated, “knows a lot about football” — couldn’t help but smile.

“Imagine how far that is from the chatter that was coming out [when Marshall was] in Denver,” Irvin said. “He’s in a good place, and he’s passing the game on. . . .

“That’s how you sustain [when you’re] great, when you’re able to pass what’s in you to others to help them be great.”

It helps, too, that Marshall and the Bears’ starting pass-catchers are all taller than the 6-2 Irvin, once considered the prototypical big receiver.

“Brandon’s more physically gifted than I am — size and speed and everything,” Irvin said. “When I talked with him, I tried to talk to his physical-ness. . . .

“He’s gone from only relying on those physical gifts shoulders-down — and he’s adding all those extra things, the nuances of the game, the tiny parts that make you great.”

Irvin passed some of those down to Marshall.

Marshall said Irvin is “[emphasizing] some other stuff now” — counting defensive backs’ steps and even which foot is raised.

“He teaches me how to use my body,” Marshall said, “because he was a big receiver, and he understands it. I learn a lot from him.”


Twitter: @patrickfinley

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