Marshall getting in shape for unpredictable future
MINNEAPOLIS – Brandon Marshall(notes) is unwilling to talk about what jersey he wants to wear in the fall. However, he’s made it clear that whatever uniform he dons, he expects to suit up in great shape.
“All I can do is get up every day and beat my body up, and that’s the truth,” the Denver Broncos wideout said during an exclusive interview after a workout on Friday at the University of Minnesota with fellow Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald(notes). “At the end of the day, I’m going to be playing football, and, if I’m going to be out there, I got to be in the best shape I can be in.”
Neither Marshall, who requested a trade from the Broncos during a meeting with owner Pat Bowlen last month, nor his agent Kennard McGuire would comment on the status of the request.
“I ain’t worrying about that right now,” Marshall said, “and I ain’t going to talk about that.”
Marshall, a 2006 fourth-round NFL draft pick who earned $1.5 million in each of his first three seasons, reportedly wants an upgrade to a contract that is set to pay him $2.2 million in 2009. In addition to salary concerns, Marshall is believed to be bothered by the departure of Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler(notes), who was traded to the Chicago Bears, and the team’s medical staff.
In a May blog post, Marshall said he got two MRIs on his hip and was told that nothing was wrong.
“But come to find out THERE WAS A BIT OF A PROBLEM after all,” Marshall wrote on his blog.
Asked if he plans to report to the team’s training camp on July 30, Marshall said, “Well, I’m under contract with the Broncos.”
Marshall, hoping not to become a distraction to his teammates (“You don’t ever want to be that,” he said), focused many of his answers on his immediate goal: closing a tangible gap with Fitzgerald.
After their full morning workout on Friday, the players ran 16, 110-yard dashes. Marshall didn’t like the view.
“The main thing I’m taking back to Orlando with me is that I’m 20 yards behind Fitzgerald,” Marshall said. “We ended [Fri]day with 110s, and I was 20 yards behind him.”
How many times?
“On all of them,” Marshall matter-of-factly said. “It showed me how far behind I am from the best.”
Marshall didn’t mention that he had hip surgery on April 1. Instead, Fitzgerald later pointed that out in a separate interview.
“Well, I’ve been doing this for a while,” Fitzgerald said of the conditioning drills, “and he just got back from major surgery not too long ago.
“He’s an incredible specimen. It won’t take long for him to recover.”
The injury could be one of several concerns the Broncos have about rewarding Marshall with a lucrative contract. Despite back-to-back 100-catch seasons, Marshall has been on police blotters on several occasions, most recently in March, when he was arrested in Atlanta for disorderly conduct after allegedly being in a fight with his fiancée (the charges were dropped).
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with him and Denver. But, I just hope if he is traded or isn’t trade, I just want him to be happy,” said Fitzgerald, who struck up a friendship with Marshall through former NFL star and onetime Yahoo! Sports analyst Cris Carter. “I want to see him have success, whether that’s in Denver or [somewhere else]. I just want to see him have success, because he puts in the work.”
Marshall said he enjoyed sharing insights with receivers like Fitzgerald and the Green Bay Packers’ Greg Jennings(notes). But the highlight of his week was on Wednesday, when he worked out with Jerry Rice(notes).
“I had never gotten the chance to meet the G.O.A.T. [Greatest of All Time] before,” Marshall said. “It’s inspiring, to see how old he is, and how he’s still got it.”
“With this game, as far as the NFL, it’s about change,” Marshall said. “You see that all the time. People come in and go out. It’s one of those things you have to deal with it and move on. You can’t get caught up in the past.
“You just got to do your best, to control what you can control.”
Right now, Marshall’s focus is on getting into shape so he can avoid being what he called a “so-so” player.
“Football is exciting. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing with the best or you’re playing with average guys, or a bad team,” Marshall said. “Football is always the same. Every time Sunday comes around, you’re going to be pumped up.
“Just to have an opportunity to play ball is exciting.”
Sean Jensen covers the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
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