Jury’s ruling big for Broncos receiver | VailDaily.com

Jury’s ruling big for Broncos receiver

Mike Klis
The Denver Post

The NFL could discipline Brandon Marshall a second time essentially for the same alleged incident, depending on how a six-person jury rules in his trial next month in Atlanta.

Marshall, the Broncos’ leading receiver the past two seasons with a total of 206 catches, is scheduled for trial Aug. 13 on a misdemeanor battery charge in the Georgia State Court of Fulton County in Atlanta. Judge John Mather will preside over the trial, which is expected to have a judgment from the jury on the same day.

Providing he has sufficiently recovered from offseason hip surgery and caught up on the playbook after skipping six weeks of the Broncos’ offseason program to protest his contract, Marshall could leave Atlanta and join his team the next day in San Francisco for its preseason opener against the 49ers.

Marshall’s trial stems from an incident March 4, 2008, at the Atlanta apartment of his former girlfriend, Rasheedah Watley. The alleged altercation between Marshall and Watley caused NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate the receiver’s conduct, which included numerous previous police-related incidents.

Although Marshall had not yet received his day in court regarding the alleged altercation with Watley, Goodell ultimately suspended the wide receiver for the first game of the 2008 season and fined him two game checks.

Goodell had found Marshall guilty of violating the league’s personal conduct policy, which states, “As an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard. Persons who fail to live up to this standard are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even when the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime.”

A conviction, however, could stiffen the punishment.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Wednesday that as part of Marshall’s discipline last year, he was told that if something more came of the charges against him, he could be subject to additional league discipline.

Marshall’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, declined comment Wednesday.

The police report from the March 4, 2008, incident said the officer called to Watley’s apartment was greeted by Marshall, who was bleeding from one hand and carrying a knife. Marshall said one of Watley’s sisters cut him with a knife, although later in the report, Marshall told the officer he was cut by glass, not a knife.

The officer told Marshall to wait outside the apartment while he talked to Watley and her two sisters inside. The report said Watley had cuts to her lips. Watley and her two sisters said Marshall threw Watley on her bed and grabbed her head. Watley and one sister also said Marshall struck Watley.

According to Watley, the altercation was initiated by Marshall discovering a text message from her former boyfriend on her cellphone. When the officer went back outside the apartment, Marshall was gone.

Marshall has maintained he has never touched Watley and that money is the motivation behind her complaint, pointing to two attorney-drafted letters in which she sought $500,000 and $100,000 from him in exchange for not pressing charges.

Eleven months after the incident with Watley, Marshall became engaged to Michi Nogami while he was in Hawaii preparing to play in the Pro Bowl. Marshall and Nogami were both arrested after an argument in Atlanta on March 1, although charges were dropped by a court judge the next day.

The NFL has already announced it would not discipline Marshall for his incident with Nogami. Whether Marshall avoids further league punishment regarding his incident with Watley, however, may rest with a six-person Atlanta jury next month.

Rookie signings.

The Broncos reached contract agreements Wednesday with second-round pick Richard Quinn and fifth-round draft pick Kenny McKinley.

No contract information was available on Quinn, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end from North Carolina.

McKinley had 207 receptions as a wide receiver at South Carolina, good for third place all time in the Southeastern Conference.

Quinn and McKinley join seventh-round center Blake Schlueter, who also has a four-year deal, as the only drafted players to reach a contract agreement. Seven remain unsigned.

Defensive tackle Robert Ayers, the 18th pick overall in the April draft and one of the Broncos’ two first-rounders, said Wednesday he expects to have a signed contract before training camp begins.

Mike Klis: 303-954-1055 or mklis@denverpost.com

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