ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Linebacker Brandon Marshall led the Denver Broncos with nine tackles in his first career NFL start and added a key tackle on special teams that reversed a 92-yard touchdown return.
So, when he reaches into his locker Wednesday for a rare bit of fan mail, he figures he's about to open a letter congratulating him.
Out pop two football cards of the OTHER Brandon Marshall, the one making millions of dollars catching passes for the Chicago Bears. And a note, asking if he could autograph the cards and mail them back in the return envelope to a town in Iowa.
''Hey, I don't get why you would send a Chicago Bears card to the Broncos facility. It doesn't make sense,'' Marshall said as he showed his fellow linebackers who were laughing along with him.
Marshall gets confused with his superstar namesake all the time on Twitter and Instagram.
''Now I get it in the mail, too,'' Marshall said. ''I get it all over, man.''
He'll need more games like he had Sunday night when he was filling in for leading tackler Danny Trevathan to finally get some respect, it looks like.
Then, maybe fans will send him his real football cards to sign.
''Exactly. But I don't even know if I have a card, honestly,'' said Marshall, who was drafted in the fifth round out of Nevada by Jacksonville in 2012 only to get cut three times by the Jaguars. ''I've never seen a rookie card of mine. Even though I was drafted. Maybe they'll make one.''
Marshall relayed defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's calls and never came out of the game for a breather in Denver's 31-24 win over Indy. He played all 74 defensive snaps, tied for the team lead with Rahim Moore, and six more on special teams.
''There's nothing like that first regular season game,'' coach John Fox said. ''The speed of the game picks up, obviously the length of your playing time (does, too). So, we've got to do a little bit better job of maybe taking some of those pitches off of him. But all in all, I think he did well.''
Marshall had some moments he'd like back, like when he couldn't bring down tight end Dwayne Allen on a long touchdown catch-and-run. But the good plays outnumbered the bad ones.
Marshall's biggest play came when he stuffed Andrew Luck's sneak on fourth-and-goal. He also came up with a huge play on special teams after being pressed into additional duties when Nate Irving banged a knee and briefly left the game.
''That made it even more tiring for me on defense,'' Marshall said. ''But I've still got to do what I have to do to help us win the game.''
He did by dragging down punt returner Griff Whalen at the Colts 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter only to see Whalen pop up and run for what was originally ruled a 92-yard touchdown.
Replays showed Marshall forced Whalen's right knee to the grass, however, and the call was corrected.
''I knew he was down. That's why I got up and I was like, `What's going on?' He's still running but he was down,'' Marshall said.
Trevathan is expected to miss another two games, and Marshall's hoping for more games like his debut, then to contribute heavily in the linebacker rotation and on special teams.
If that happens, he might finally make a name for himself and stop getting confused with the other Brandon Marshall, the one makes more money in one week - $535,294 - than the Broncos' Marshall will all season - $495,000.
He held up the two football cards from the mistaken fan again.
''Maybe I should just sign these with my No. 54 and send them back. Maybe I'll do that,'' he said as he went in search of a Sharpie.
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