Bears coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace just don’t get it. If their evaluations of their new team led to information about a strained relationship between quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall, they just don’t understand their dynamic.
At least, that’s what Marshall would contend.
“It depends,” Marshall said during a conference call on Friday. “The new coach that was brought on and [the] general manager, yeah, they don’t know us. All they know is from what they hear and from what they see, but it’s all from afar.
“I’ve always described our relationship this way — and it hasn’t changed — that we’re brothers. We’re the brothers that we love each other but also get in to it. And it’s always been that way and it will never change. I love him, his family. I love his sons. And I wish him the best.”
Fox and Pace, of course, have decided to stick with Cutler as their starting quarterback for 2015, while saying it was in everyone’s best interests to trade Marshall and a seventh-round pick to the New York Jets for a fifth-round selection.
“Just to be honest with you guys, I kind of felt [the trade coming] the last two months,” said Marshall, who was speaking to the Jets’ media contingent for the first time. “We just prepared ourselves emotionally and from a business standpoint for that day. So it really wasn’t unexpected.”
Asked about his role on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” Marshall reiterated what he often said with the Bears, calling his successful off-the-field initiatives to raise awareness for mental health his purpose and football his platform for it.
“[The show] is not the reason why I came to New York,” Marshall said, “but it’s a perk, when it’s only a 30-minute drive to Showtime, if we choose to do that again.”
Marshall said he’ll start working with Jets quarterback Geno Smith and spoke glowingly about his new teammates and coaches. He played for Jets coach Todd Bowles with the Miami Dolphins and developed a close relationship.
“Look out everybody: this guy, [Bowles] is a man’s man,” said Marshall, who had 279 catches, 3,524 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons with the Bears. “He’s a leader. He definitely has a great understanding of bringing guys together and holding everyone accountable.”
Marshall bemoaned having to leave behind relationships he had established in Chicago. He said he received 200 text messages and emails from Bears personnel and former teammates and also contacts in the Chicago community after getting traded.
“That’s been the hardest part with this transition,” Marshall said.
But the hope is everything works out in New York and this is his final stop after being traded three times in his career. Marshall said he wants to be the best teammate.
“This is a great organization with great people,” Marshall said. “I think it’s people who are going to accept me for who I am and see that it’s a personality, not a character issue.”