PHOENIX — If Brandon Marshall wants to continue as a panelist for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” New York Jets coach Todd Bowles doesn’t have a problem with it.
“If it doesn’t interfere with his practice time — and we’ll talk about it — [but] his days off are his days off and he can do whatever he wants to do,” Bowles said Tuesday at the AFC coaches breakfast during the NFL annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore.
“I think Brandon is smart enough to know to handle his professionalism. You get a lot of guys who do business ventures on their days off and off the field. We’ll have a talk about that, but I have no problem with it.”
The Bears’ new decision-makers felt differently, especially after all of Marshall’s actions became problems for the team last season. The Bears traded Marshall and a seventh-round pick to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-round selection in this year’s draft.
Bowles, though, vouched for Marshall when Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan pursued the mercurial receiver. Bowles said he grew close with Marshall when he became interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2011.
“I’ve had real conversations with him,” Bowles said. “The guy is so much more than I think what everybody is trying to paint him as. Everybody, when you look at their past, is going to have some shaky things going through it. But Brandon has come a long way.”
Bowles acknowledged that Marshall tends to be different than the typical NFL player.
“The NFL, everybody’s a unique character but yeah, he’s one of them,” Bowles said.
“You’ve seen Brandon mature over those years and become the man he is. All that stuff has helped him.”
Marshall turned 31 on Monday and is coming off an injury-filled season. He dealt with separate sprained ankles and was placed on injured reserve after suffering a collapsed lung and broken ribs against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 4.
But Bowles sees big things ahead for him.
“I think he’s at a great spot in his career to have a breakout year,” Bowles said.