Thursday, June 18, 2009
Broncos' Marshall mum about holdout
AURORA, Colo. -- Holdout wide receiver Brandon Marshall reported to camp -- his own.
The Denver Broncos Pro Bowl receiver who skipped the team's mandatory minicamp last weekend in a contract dispute is holding a two-day youth football camp for 500 kids ages 7-18 at a local high school.
Marshall declined to answer questions about his status with the Broncos on Thursday, other than to say he and his agent are communicating with the team.
Asked if he thought this youth football camp was his grand goodbye to the community that's embraced him, Marshall said basically that nothing good lasts forever.
"I think we saw this past year as far as change, as for changes in our front office. Coach Shanahan being here 13 years. Gone! I think that's part of life. You know it's just change," Marshall said.
"You can control what you can control and what you can't control you don't worry about. So I'm here to show my wisdom, to give wisdom and get a feel for the kids."
Marshall said he does plan to hold the camp again next summer in Denver but also in Pittsburgh, where he grew up, and Orlando, Fla., where he lives.
If he gets his way, Marshall's camp in Colorado next summer will be as a visiting player.
"I want him to stay. We aren't as good a team without him," said 14-year-old camper Jaylen McDonald of Denver.
Marshall, who said he's been working out at his alma mater, Central Florida, participated in some of the on-field work at his camp, which consisted strictly of no-contact drills.
Dressed in red sweats, Marshall jogged a lap with the kids and took part in some stretching before helping teach football skills to the enthusiastic boys and girls.
This week, Marshall posted a farewell to Denver fans on his blog even as coach Josh McDaniels was saying he looked forward to seeing Marshall at training camp next month. And Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire, said team owner Pat Bowlen had told his client that he would try to accommodate his trade request.
Bowlen hasn't spoken publicly about the matter.
Marshall has precious little leverage, however, to force his way out of town like quarterback Jay Cutler did this spring when he got into a feud with McDaniels and was dealt to Chicago.
Marshall, who is set to make $2.2 million in 2009, faces legal and health issues that would seem to prevent him from cashing in with a huge contract anytime soon.
He's coming off hip surgery and faces a trial this summer on misdemeanor battery charges; a conviction could lead to his second suspension from the NFL in just over a year.
Plus, 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.
Of course, they may decide it's not worth it to force a disgruntled star to stick around.
Marshall is entering the final season of the four-year deal he signed as a fourth-round draft pick in 2006 and he could be quite a bargain for a player who's had consecutive 100-catch seasons while playing more like a top-10 pick than a fourth-rounder.
Yet, nobody knows how he'll bounce back from April 1 hip surgery or whether he'll start the season on the suspended list again.
Marshall is prepping for a big year -- wherever that may be.
"I feel great. I'm working out at Central Florida with the team, running routes, doing pass [drills]. I'm not 100 percent. [But] I'm 10 times better than I was for the first game last year," he said.
Despite putting up Pro Bowl numbers last season, Marshall had several crucial fumbles and also dropped an astonishing number of passes, something he blamed on the nerve damage in his right arm, which he said he put through a television set while horsing around with his brother in March 2008.
On Thursday, Marshall said the numbness in his arm was "just the nerve regenerating. I'm fine. I went through a whole year [with it]. It's almost there. The doctor said it should take a year or two and we're right there."