Marshall reports to Broncos camp but isn’t happy
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado – Brandon Marshall is one unhappy camper.
The recalcitrant Pro Bowl receiver reported to the first day of the Denver Broncos’ training camp on Monday after skipping all offseason workouts while rehabbing from a hip operation and protesting his contract and what he feels was a misdiagnosis of his injury by the team’s medical staff.
After catching several passes in the light afternoon workout, Marshall made it clear by his body language and evasiveness during a terse five-minute news conference that he remains dissatisfied in Denver.
He said the only reason he reported to Dove Valley after skipping the team’s voluntary workout program and its mandatory minicamp was to avoid the $15,888 daily fines he could have been assessed otherwise.
The Broncos’ first full squad workout isn’t until Friday but Marshall was told to report Monday with the quarterbacks, other veterans coming off injuries and the rookies – although first-round draft picks Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers remained unsigned.
Also noticeably absent was Marshall’s usual million-dollar smile.
Marshall’s agent, Kennard McGuire, and general manger Brian Xanders were seen walking into the team’s headquarters together Monday afternoon, but McGuire declined to reveal what was discussed, and Xanders didn’t return a message.
“He said he was coming and he showed up,” was about all McGuire had to say for the record about his client, who wants to renegotiate the $2.2 million left on his contract this year.
Asked if he was happy to be here, Marshall retorted: “I’m happy to play football. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was a little boy and hopefully that’s what I can continue to do. I’m going to take advantage of any opportunity I have to play football.”
Last month, Marshall posted a farewell to Denver fans on his blog and McGuire said team owner Pat Bowlen had told his client during a private meeting that he would try to accommodate his trade request.
Bowlen hasn’t spoken publicly about the matter.
Asked if he could be his usual stellar self while in a sour mood, Marshall said: “Well, I mean, I have faith in conversations that I’ve had with ownership and my agent, and I’m just going to put my faith and belief in things that I’ve heard and all I can do is just, like I said, prepare myself for a season.”
Was he referring to conversations regarding the promise of a trade or a re-negotiated contract?
“I’m just excited about the season, man,” Marshall replied. “It’s just an opportunity for me once again to play football and put everything else behind me.”
New coach Josh McDaniels said Marshall isn’t on the trading block, suggested his star player’s unhappiness won’t hinder the team’s preparations and proclaimed he’s eager to see Marshall perform in this offense.
Marshall has no leverage to force his way out of town like quarterback Jay Cutler did this spring when he had a fallout with McDaniels and was dealt to Chicago.
Despite coming off consecutive 100-catch seasons and his first Pro Bowl appearance, Marshall faces legal, health and contractual issues that would seem to prevent him from cashing in anytime soon.
He underwent hip surgery on April 1 and is still working his way back into shape. He’s facing an Aug. 13 trial in Atlanta on a misdemeanor battery charge, where a conviction could lead to his second suspension from the NFL, which banned him from last year’s opener over a series of domestic disputes.
And with next season being an uncapped year, Marshall is set to be a restricted free agent in 2010 rather than an unrestricted free agent, after which the Broncos could slap the franchise tag on him to keep him in Denver for years to come.
“I just want to be happy,” Marshall said. “At the end of the day I just want to be happy. There’s a lot of things going on off the field and I want to be able to put that stuff behind me. I want to go out there and catch some balls, score touchdowns and just grow.”