Friday August 28th, 2009

The irony, apparently unrecognized by the player himself, is that Brandon Marshall's actions are the very thing ensuring he remains a Denver Bronco indefinitely.

Citing his conduct detrimental to the club, the Broncos suspended Marshall Friday morning in a move that was both inevitable and totally counterproductive to his oft-stated wish of leaving Denver.

In short, the longer Marshall jakes it in practice and makes himself a nuisance to Broncos rookie head coach Josh McDaniels and the rest of the team, the fewer teams there are that might be tempted to step up and make Denver a trade offer it can't refuse. MORE: Broncos suspend Marshall indefinitely

If that sinking realization is finally dawning on Marshall, it's probably happening at least a week -- or three -- late. It takes interest from two sides to make a trade in the NFL, and right now, Marshall's obvious baggage has so devalued his marketability that even if the Broncos wanted to deal him -- and I happen to believe they're investigating the good-riddance option -- they'd have a hard time finding anyone who would pay a reasonably fair price.

After all, it's not as if diva-like receivers are in short supply in the NFL these days. Marshall just happens to be the most radioactive of all right now, and he's doing more damage to his reputation with almost every passing day.

As one veteran NFL general manager told me Friday: "This isn't an isolated incident with [Marshall]. There's other history there, and other issues he's had. It's not just a case of he's had a bad marriage with Denver and somewhere else he'd be fine. Then you've got the whole T.O. situation in the back of your mind, don't you? Who wants to touch this guy with a 10-foot pole right now? Then there's the matter of him wanting a new contract, and deciding on trade compensation. Am I willing to make that kind of investment in a guy I don't trust? It's going to be a very difficult situation for the Broncos.''

Yes, indeed, this is another fine mess the Broncos and McDaniels find themselves in as Jay Cutler and the Bears prepare to come to town Sunday night, but I have a hard time assessing any blame in Denver's direction this time. If you saw the video from Denver's practice session on Wednesday, you saw the Broncos fourth-year receiver basically begging to be suspended for insubordination.

He walked as the rest of his teammates ran in pre-practice warm-ups. He booted the football skyward instead of handing it back to the team's ball boys. He knocked down passes instead of catching them in receiver drills. It's a wonder the team's management had time to act before Marshall's teammates decided enough was enough and meted out their own form of discipline or at least condemnation.

But in truth, I'm told Marshall's teammates have largely tuned him and his malcontent act out at this point. He has become something like white noise --noticeable in the background, but able to be ignored and worked around.

The more he operates out of the diva receiver's handbook for drawing attention to one's self -- complain about your contract, demand a trade, stay away from practice, go into full-blown petulant mode -- the more he seems to be losing the very value that made him think he could orchestrate his way out of town in the first place.

Since the Broncos opened training camp, Marshall has tried McDaniels' patience by not getting on the field when he was healthy enough to practice and admittedly not learning his playbook. But he finally pushed things too far this week, and the Broncos took the unsurprising step of sending him home.

It's being called an indefinite suspension for now, but the league's collective bargaining agreement allows Denver to hit Marshall for up to four games. How that works when it's a matter of the suspension falling partly in the preseason and partly in the regular season is somewhat unclear, but there seems to be a good likelihood Denver will seek the maximum punishment.

Going home and doing push-ups in the driveway for the TV cameras is always an option, but if Marshall has any hope of either building a bridge back to Denver or punching a ticket out of town, he'd best end the self-inflicted wounding and start rehabilitating his reputation. The series of events that led to Friday's suspension have been an unmistakable miscalculation on his part, and it's gotten him nowhere but sent home without pay.

He wants to run that one last go-route out of Denver, but all he's doing is jamming himself at the line of scrimmage. Let's see if he's capable of making the key adjustment.

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