The twitter world was all aflutter this morning with reports that Broncos WR Brandon Marshall was not only not working with the first team, but he was relegated to scout team duty....on DEFENSE!
Needless to say, I was waiting anxiously to hear what Brandon would have to say about this. I fought the urge to blast the Broncos and Josh McDaniels for what looked to me to be a public humiliation of the team's best offensive player. I'm glad I did, at least a bit.
Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette broke down what Marshall had to say after and it does shed a bit of light on why Marshall would be relegated behind the likes of Matthew Willis. What did Marshall have to say?
After basically disengaging himself from practice by standing with the defensive players on the sideline and not taking any normal repetitions during 11-on-11 drills (he said it is because he is "not close" to learning the playbook), Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall reiterated he is not happy with the team. He was asked if there were irreconcilable differences with the team.
"Unfortunately, sometimes it gets to that point," Marshall said. "There are trust issues on both sides. It’s understandable. We’ve got to try our best to move forward."
He said he was starting to work past his issues with the team, but he was upset on Friday when he said a public-relations staffer told Broncos players not to act too happy for Marshall after he was found not guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge in Atlanta.
"I think the biggest thing was, it was really disappointing hearing that some of my teammates on one of the best days of ... for the past three years, of my life, some of my teammates were coached to say ‘Don’t say you’re happy for Brandon,'" Marshall said.
Obviously, whatever went down regarding instructions the players were given about their reaction to Marshall's 'not guilty' verdict has Marshall a bit annoyed.
Marshall went on to talk about his contract request, or lack of one -
"From day one I’ve never asked the Broncos for more money, and that’s from the summertime," Marshall said.
Marshall wouldn't say he asked again for a trade but said Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said back in June he would try to trade him.
"In that meeting with ownership, it was told to me they’ll do their best to accommodate me with that wish," Marshall said. "And I’m still here. I’m a Bronco and all I can do now is do my best to get in my best football shape and be that player I was the past three years."
While there is plenty of double-talk to go around, and I think both sides are being less than truthful about the facts, the one thing that really bothers me, and I mean REALLY BOTHERS ME, is Marshall's confession that he isn't "close to learning the playbook".
Think about that.
Brandon Marshall has had the ENTIRE OFFSEASON to learn the playbook, healthy or not. Marshall chose to stay away this offseason; then, once he did begrudgingly show up, failed to spend the time the past 3 weeks to get up to speed. It is his JOB as a professional to learn the playbook. If he is telling the truth, he is giving you the best example of why the Broncos are making the RIGHT DECISION not to extend his contract. It also has told 31 other teams exactly what his work ethic is like.
You learn a lot about a player when things are going well. You learn more about A MAN when things are not. Brandon Marshall is not handling this like a man. While it hurts the Broncos on the field to have a player essentially admit he doesn't want to work, it hurts Marshall a lot more exactly where he cares the most - the wallet.