Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Updated: August 20, 10:43 AM ET
Marshall has trust issues with Broncos
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Brandon Marshall has no problem working with the scout team while he plays his way back into Pro Bowl form.
What bugs him is the way the Denver Broncos handled his acquittal on misdemeanor battery charges last week.
The Broncos offense relies on Brandon Marshall. No receiver in the NFL was targeted more than Marshall was in 2008. The target leaders:
Brandon Marshall, Den
Andre Johnson, Hou
Larry Fitzgerald, Ari
Dwayne Bowe, K.C.
Wes Welker, N.E.
Marshall said Wednesday in his first public comments about the matter that he was miffed a member of the team's public relations staff told his teammates not to gloat over his acquittal in an Atlanta courtroom on Friday.
Marshall was told the staffer was acting on his own in an attempt to be sensitive, but he believes the directive came from higher in the organization and he suggested the episode fostered distrust between him and the Broncos.
There's a hazard this latest imbroglio could lead to an irreparable rift between the team and its superstar receiver who already is unhappy that the Broncos haven't reworked his contract or traded him.
"Unfortunately, I think it gets to that point," Marshall said. "There are trust issues on both sides. It's understandable. We've got to try our best to move forward."
Trust issues were at the root of the offseason quarterback predicament in Denver that ended with Pro Bowl passer Jay Cutler getting traded after rookie coach Josh McDaniels considered acquiring former pupil Matt Cassel.
Cassel ended up in Kansas City, Cutler was sent to Chicago and Kyle Orton came to Denver.
Marshall, set to make $2.2 million this season, had hoped the verdict in his trial would give him leverage for a new contract, and his agent, Kennard McGuire, met with McDaniels on Monday. Both men have declined to say whether McGuire asked again for a big raise or, barring that, a trade, and Marshall also sidestepped the question.
"From Day One, I never asked the Broncos for more money, and that's from the summertime. The biggest thing was I really disappointed that ... on one of the best days for the past three years of my life, some of my teammates were [told], 'Don't say you're happy for Brandon,'" Marshall said.
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"I felt like we need to sit down with the guys upstairs and try to figure out what's really going on."
So, Marshall and his lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, met with Broncos chief operating officer Joe Ellis, who apologized to Marshall.
The Broncos have declined to discuss their side of the story, saying it's an internal issue.
"Some things you can't control," McDaniels said Wednesday when asked about Marshall's reaction. "That situation, we feel like we've tried to handle it the best we could after something like that came out. [We're] trying to get everybody's mind back on football and focus on practice and what we have to do to get ready for Seattle" on Saturday night.
Marshall made it clear when camp started that he wasn't happy in Denver anymore, but he said Wednesday that he had started to come around before hearing about the staffer's admonition.
"I thought we were moving past that and it was just Friday when players were coached to say they weren't happy for me, so it's tough," Marshall said. "It's tough."
Marshall thought he was going to get traded this summer following a meeting with team owner Pat Bowlen. So, does Marshall feel like the Broncos broke a promise?
"In that meeting with ownership it was told to me that they'll do their best to accommodate me with that wish and I'm still here," Marshall said. "I'm a Bronco and all I can do is try my best to get in the best football shape and be that player I was the last three years."
Marshall said he has no ill effects from his hip operation or the hamstring he pulled early in camp but is way behind on the playbook, which prevents him from taking snaps with the starting offense.
Marshall insisted he didn't mind running with the scout team, though, suggesting: "I really want to take those reps and go against Champ Bailey, [Andre'] Goodman and [Brian] Dawkins and those guys, so I'm just taking advantage of the talent we have on the defense."
Bailey and Dawkins, however, weren't at practice Wednesday.
Marshall also ran exclusively with the scout team in the evening practice Wednesday, when he imitated Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the Broncos' defense. Marshall never shed his orange scout-team jersey to run any of the Broncos' offensive plays even though he acknowledged he was "not close at all" to mastering McDaniels' offense and added he needed plenty of work there.
"You can't go out there and take reps with the 1s if you don't know what you're doing out there," Marshall said. "I've got to do my best to catch up in the playbook."