Another morning in Broncoland, with an eerily similar feeling to other mornings we've had here - the prospect of another cheered for face/number who not being with the team. The early rumors trade rumors of Cutler were pretty surprising to most of SBNation, and I, for one, thought they'd go away without a trade. The firing of Shanahan, the Cutler drama, and the draft have all brought on divisions inside Bronconation. WIth passing time, and a little more vision, we are seeing the clarity of the future. The True Bronco Spirit is returning. Now again, some degree of uncertainty arises returned with the first reports of Marshall's lack of attendance to mandatory camps.
(Let's be realistic here: It's way too early to be paranoid; he'll be healthy long before the regular season starts; we might just be collectively the burned child fearing the flame. So all this 'saga' talk might just be a touch over-dramatic).
I have watched Bronco games since I was 4 years old. I've got the Broncoland license plate on my car even though I live out of state. I stand with you as a passionate fan of the game, and of the true Bronco favorites: Tom Jackson, Eddie Mc, Fletcher, Atwater, Elway, Hillis, Clady, Rulon Jones, etc.
These times in the NFL have changed. The arrival of Marshall in 2007 showed elite WR talent on the team beyond what we had seen in recent memory. He was 'like TO, but better because he had a good attitude,' we all thought. He arrived at dominance after showing his hunger and drive to improve and win. We wanted to embrace him like we did Rod Smith - a true Bronco. We became accustomed to watching Marshall catch crossing routes and run over DBs and stretch the field and force corners to play him honestly. We feel like we need him to win, maybe even moreso than we felt about Cutler.
But is Marshall one of the True Broncos? I suppose it's too early to say. I think most of the NFL world would agree, that a contract extension would be in order if there were less concerns about injury and behavior. We want #15 to be on the field catching passes from Orton/Simms/Brandstater this year and for the next 5-6 right?
Brandon's hip treatments and (un)diagnosis has caused him distrust with the med staff. Is he Justified?
It's kind of funny now, but some of my coaches thought I was getting 'big-headed' and just didn't want to practice, but I needed some fine-tuning. What made last years so weird was that I got two MRIs, one in training camp and the second around Week 6 and was told nothing, but come to fine out THERE WAS A BIT OF A PROBLEM after all. – Brandon Marshall SOURCE: Fox Sports
So the last MRI was week 6, yet he played the whole year on the hip. Is it possible, those MRIs were correct, and the damage was done to the hip after that? Obviously the team wouldn't want Marshall to be damaged goods. We all know what a busted hip can do to an aggresive football player (see Bo Jackson). Maybe the staff handled things just right. Was there any deception? We hope not. Either way, it's clear with his Florida rehab, that he prefers the healing of his hip to be done by people he's chosen.
I wonder too if Brandon is realizing for the first time that he is not indestructible. The arm injury (from the glass case) healed quickly. His hamstring problems always cleared up fast. He used to be invincible. But pain that's lingered for months and months is something he's never dealt with before. With that, comes some realization that football is a big price to pay for fame/fortune/glory. Unfortunately for lots of players, the injury side of things is still part of 'the business,' just like contracts.
He may be wanting money to protect his past, or money to gaurentee his future, but Marshall does want to get back to healthy. We've all got to hope that he can recover quickly like ARod did from surgery and be an impact player in two more months. Let's face it: he shouldn't be making less money than 57 other WRs in the league (and Royal's contract will be worth more in his fourth year than Marshall's is this year).
Marshall is getting taken to the cleaners in the public eye. Outside the Lines didn't read the following statement:
Here’s what the letter, dated July 29, 2008, had to say: “My name is Rasheedah Watley, I am the ex girlfriend of Brandon Marshall. I read in the newspapers that he is in trouble with the league because of me. I will let you know that he never hurt me or hit me, I was pressured by my family to make up certain things [to] get money. I was told to say that Brandon hit me and hurt me so that I could get him to pay to keep me quiet. I want you to know he never did.”
Still, there has been lots of smoke surrounding Brandon the past 6 years. People might assume that means fire. There probably is some, and he has been trying to extinguish them. Marshall deserves fair trials in court and in the public realm if and when they happen. We hope this was a case of extortion and someone who was looking to take advantage of a situation, and the league thus far has seen no reason to suspend Marshall as of yet. We all sighed relief. We loved it when he indicated he didn't care Cutler had moved on, because stats meant less than wins. We want to give him all that credit. We don't want to think of him as the next Plaxico Burress.
What about what his teammates say? Javon Walker was an impact player for Denver for a couple seasons before he needed a change of scenery. We all remember how we were robbed of another Bronco we cheered and took pride in. DWill had spirit, talent and loved the game. He wore his jersey proudly. After his death, Walker wasn't the same, as I'm sure none of us would be. He came back angry about how it was turning into 'Marshall's team.' It was like they couldn't coexist. I never could figure out why.
I read this article last week about the altercation leading up to the fateful shooting that night:
Another Broncos receiver, Brandon Marshall, and his cousin were partying with Williams' group that night and began spraying champagne around, "some of which hit a club patron and his friend, who confronted Williams and his entourage," Marshall told "Real Sports." Those men flashed gang signs and were escorted out of the club, said members of a rap group from Williams' hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, who were with him that night. Fellow teammate Javon Walker said he didn't see the encounter inside the club but saw trouble brewing when he left the club at closing time. Marshall and his cousin were exchanging heated words with two men, he said. The rappers said it was the same men who had been kicked out of the club earlier that night.
Marshall was even involved then. Ugh. I wish I didn't even know any details about this tragedy. Makes me sick. Maybe something happened that night and Walker just couldn't live being next to Marshall in the locker room. I hope that's not the case, and I'm not intending to throw blame. But once again, Marshall's actions don't reflect the spirit of Rod Smith, Jim Ryan, Nalen, or Coach Turner.
It's time for Brandon to unite with the team and embrace the team concept like Bronconation is willing to embrace him. Let's hope that this situation ends happily for all parties - that Marshall can be a model citizen and return to his dominating physical presence, that Coach McD can lead a group of team-first players, that the fans can cheer for someone who deserves all the cheers he merits, and that we head back to Super Bowls. Let's hope that we don't have another division among the nation arguing if the team's direction is right or not. It's time to come together.