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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Brandon Marshall returned to practice for the Chicago Bears on Monday after leaving the team last week for a follow-up exam on his surgically repaired hip.
Marshall missed the exhibition finale against Cleveland. A day before the contest, the Bears announced the receiver's excused absence, which coincidentally came a day after he expressed frustration about the recovery process while hinting the Bears might be pushing him back too fast.
"I'm always concerned about my body," Marshall said Monday. "It doesn't matter if it's a little scratch, I'm always concerned. So coming off my third surgery, structurally, everything is good. After a few surgeries, I think that's protocol for checkups."
Marshall's comments from last Tuesday, combined with his absence from practice the next day led to widespread speculation about the receiver's health and his relationship with the organization. In the wake of those events, Marshall and his agent, Kennard McGuire, told ESPN.com that the receiver's frustrations about the recovery process stem simply from him wanting to maintain an elite level of play.
McGuire told ESPN.com that "anything less than elite is unacceptable to [Marshall]."
Bears general manager Phil Emery said that Marshall hasn't shown any drop in play and that he expects the receiver to be healthy and ready to go Sunday when the team hosts the Cincinnati Bengals.
"He's gonna get mad at me for saying this because I've been telling him all summer -- I see a guy that's better than he was last year," Emery said. "I see a guy that's more dynamic. I see a guy better in and out of his breaks. I see a stronger player. He's at an elite level for his position in terms of size, dynamic ability, production. I don't see any back-off. Actually, I see a better player.
"Obviously, he was a little frustrated about where he's at, and he's definitely shared that with [me]. Those are conversations that we've had. That's just an athlete wanting to be elite, wanting to be the best at his game. His goal is to be the best wide receiver in the NFL on the best team. I've got no problems with those goals."
Although Marshall seemed to indicate last week that the staff might be pushing him too hard in his return, he dispelled that notion Monday and said Emery and coach Marc Trestman have "been really helpful."
"The thing is, it's tough playing at a high level. When you have a surgery, sometimes you get frustrated getting back to that level," Marshall said. "We have a lot of amazing things going on here on and off the field, and I want to be a part of it. So at times it can be [frustrating]. But we made it to Week 1 and that's a positive thing. I was a little frustrated, and I'm gonna be frustrated. I think that's just human nature."
Marshall said doctors told him that structurally his hip "is great" and in "great shape." Marshall also practiced very well Monday, according to Trestman, who added that the receiver hadn't displayed any setbacks or struggles in recovery during training camp or throughout the preseason.