Plenty To Like
Marshall spreads hope -- on the field
I'm happy that Brandon Marshall seems to have his life in order. He's raising money for his foundation that helps people with borderline personality disorder, from which he suffers. He called the family of the Bears fan who was killed in Jacksonville, Fla. He's become a vocal public leader for his team in his first year, which isn't easy to do.
Most importantly, he seems to have control over the problems that have plagued his career and life. Marshall's health and happiness are more important than a game.
I get that and I respect it, but in the grand scheme of things, all success present and future for Marshall will come from his success at his craft. Simply put, Marshall's success on the field is the foundation for his foundation. As a Chicago Bear, there is no greater platform to spread a message of hope. And so far, I'm more impressed with his output on the field.
The Bears' offense hasn't clicked like we all might have dreamed it would with the addition of Marshall, and to a lesser degree, Alshon Jeffery and Michael Bush. But it's clearly on the upswing, and Marshall is a big reason why.
So far, Marshall has 41 receptions for 577 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears have never had a receiver with his kind of physical skills and football acumen. He's dropped a few too many passes, which has been the knock on him in the past, but no one is perfect.
In the Bears' only loss this year, against Green Bay, he caught two passes for 24 yards. But Marshall has come up big under the spotlight.
In the two Monday night games, wins over Dallas and Detroit, he's caught 13 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Before the Lions game, he said he welcomed comparisons with Detroit's Calvin Johnson.
"I look at it as an honor," he said. "I definitely love some attention. But when you have that spotlight on you, you have to show up and perform. It definitely makes it harder."
Words to live by.
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
Marshall making most of fresh start
With three seasons of 100-plus catches and five seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards, the Bears knew exactly what they were getting on the field. And so far, Marshall has been as advertised with a team-high 41 catches for 577 yards through six games.
The great unknown was whether Marshall would ever get his life together off the field.
Now, I don't claim to know what happens in private or behind closed doors, but publicly, Marshall has projected the type of image that has made everybody at Halas Hall proud. The same could not be said for his time in Denver and Miami when Marshall experienced all sorts of problems.
The transformation has truly been remarkable.
Marshall will never be able to erase the arrests or accusations of violence toward women, but he seems to be genuinely trying to make a positive impact moving forward in his life by raising awareness of the personality disorder from which he suffers.
Marshall's news conferences are some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking and interesting events I've covered at Halas Hall during my time on the Bears beat. I had no idea what to expect from Marshall off the field when the Bears got him, but I never thought his public image would be so skillfully crafted.
I can't look into a person's soul. Maybe trouble finds Marshall again in the future. Who knows? It wouldn't come as a terrible shock given his status as a repeat offender.
But up until now, he has been infinitely more impressive off the field because there was no previous track record of consistent success in his personal life.
Coming to Chicago seems to have changed all that, at least for now.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.