When John Elway ascended to the top of the Broncos front office and became the teams' general manager, there was only one plan in mind: Plan A.
It's simple. Reward players with contracts who have not only proved themselves worthy of such merits on the gridiron, but off the field as well.
Enter Brandon Marshall.
He is the franchises' most recent Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, given to a player who demonstrated professionalism day-to-day in every facet of their lives, and the most recent recipient of a lucrative four-year contract extension worth $32 million dollars.
"I’d like to start off and say how we are really excited about getting [ILB] Brandon [Marshall] signed to a four-year extension," stated Elway as he introduced Marshall during yesterday's press conference at team headquarters in Dove Valley.
"He’s a guy that came in here in 2013. He was on Jacksonville’s practice squad. He just worked his tail off. Over the last two years, he played more snaps than anyone on the defensive side."
Thrilled that our team has agreed to terms with LB Brandon Marshall on a four-year extension. He's become an integral part of our defense.— John Elway (@johnelway) June 14, 2016
Marshall's journey from Jacksonville to Denver wasn't an easy one. He was cut three times by the Jaguars before he was swooped up by the Broncos. Those instances certainly rolled around in his mind during yesterday's momentous occasion.
"I had a coach tell me that he didn’t know if I was cut out for the NFL. All that ran through my mind. It ran through my mind each and every day as I was working," said Marshall. "I was out there practicing, I was lifting weights—that’s my chip. That’s the biggest chip I have because people doubted me. I try to find new chips each year to keep me going, but that’s the biggest."
Undoubtedly, those memories coupled with Marshall's integrity and top-tier professionalism helped propel him to one of the league's best players at his position.
While others may have doubted his abilities, Marshall always believed in himself.
"I think regardless of what anybody says or what anybody has said about me—good or bad—I’ve always believed in myself. I’ve always known where I could go," espoused Marshall. "I’ve had that drive and that determination. I’ve always just worked. That’s all I know how to do, just work hard. I think all of that put together has brought me to this moment."
And what a well-deserved moment yesterday was. Over the past two seasons, the former Nevada linebacker has racked up 215 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. Despite this, he still knows there is a lot of work to do and now with his contract extension, he has to rise up and solidify himself as one of the teams' leaders on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think there are different types of leaders. I was talking to [ILB] Todd Davis about this. There are vocal leaders. There are guys that lead by example, and then you have guys that do both like [OLB] DeMarcus Ware. He’s both," mentioned Marshall.
"I think with me, I can probably be more vocal. I could probably just get better in both areas. As far as me being a leader, I think just be being more vocal. I think that would elevate my leadership skills. That’s something I want to work on."
Success is not a destination, but a journey and for Brandon Marshall, his journey is only beginning. Yesterday's extension of Marshall shows not only how great of a player he has become, but moreover, that Elway is dedicated to 'Plan A' and doing whatever it takes in order for the Broncos to secure another Lombardi Trophy.
If you are keeping count at home, that's one down and two to go. Up next: Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders.
When those two are wrapped up long-term, there will be no doubt that Elway is the league's best general manager and above all else, it will signify that the Broncos will be set up for success not only now, but from now on.
Congratulations to Marshall on his contract extension. Broncos Country is excited that you will be a part of the team we love for the next five years.
As always, thank you for reading and enjoy today's offering of Horse Tracks.
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