Marshall's mission with Jets: trying to win a championship
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Brandon Marshall has spent the month of January at home each of the past nine years, watching other players make postseason runs.
The New York Jets wide receiver wants to know how it feels.
Despite being on some solid teams during his NFL career, Marshall has never made the playoffs. He has played in 136 regular-season games, the league's longest active streak without a postseason appearance.
Marshall wants to change all that in a big way with the Jets, who have missed the playoffs the past four years and haven't been to a Super Bowl since winning it in 1969.
''It would mean the world to me,'' Marshall said. ''I definitely want to win. I don't know how I would move forward without a championship. You know, 45 years old, sitting on a porch, just thinking about would've, could've. That's going to be hard even though I'm going to be happy with my family and our foundation and some business things I'm involved in.
''I'm not going to be one of those guys that has a hard transition, but if I don't win, it's going to be tough.''
Marshall is 31 and has been traded three times despite some monstrous statistical seasons that have made him one of the league's top receivers during the past decade.
He has caught 100 or more passes five times, and had a streak of seven straight seasons with 1,000 or more yards receiving snapped last year when he had 721 on 61 catches in 13 games with Chicago.
While injuries affected him last season, some fans and media wondered if his best days were behind him. His reputation for being a talented but disruptive presence had some questioning if he was the type of player a team could still build around. Or, if he was even worth the potential headache.
There were also whispers about his focus, whether his weekly appearances in New York on Showtime's ''Inside The NFL'' - something he'll do again this season - were distracting him from his duties on the field.
''The only thing that affects me is when my integrity is questioned,'' he said, ''and anything that disrupts what we're trying to do with our cause.''
Early in his career, Marshall was known as much for his troubles off the field as he was for his accomplishments on them with five arrests between 2004 and 2009, and domestic violence charges filed against him.
Marshall knows people still bring up those issues, but he insists that's all in his past.
''All I can do is look at myself in the mirror and be the best guy I can be every day,'' he said. ''That's what's in my heart. It's who I am. You win some days, you lose some days. People want to judge me, that's on them.''
Four years ago, Marshall announced at a news conference that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
He has spent a lot of his time outside of football trying to spread awareness and understanding about the illness, establishing The Brandon Marshall Foundation to further the cause.
On the field, Marshall has been rejuvenated by the trade in March to New York, taking on a leadership role with the Jets. Coach Todd Bowles and receivers coach Karl Dorrell got to know Marshall when they were together in Miami from 2010-11.
''He's a professional,'' Bowles said of Marshall. ''I don't have to keep him focused. Brandon comes to work every day. He's one of the first ones in the building.''
A regular highlight of camp has been Marshall working against cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in drills. Marshall had fans oohing Monday when he made a one-handed grab of a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, beating Revis on the play.
''Every single day, those guys, - Darrelle, especially, and Cromartie, even Buster (Skrine) - they force you to look at the game differently,'' Marshall said.
''From my releases, to the top of my routes, it's a chess match. Before, it was like, this is what I do and I just have to get better at that. Now, I have to go outside my comfort zone and figure out different ways to win, and I really believe that I'm better than I've ever been because of the competition every single day.
''You get exposed if you go out there and don't put your best foot forward. You may not get off the line of scrimmage against those guys. I don't want to be on camera and the kids in the stands laughing at me.''
The skeptics and doubters aside, Marshall remains driven. He'll let everyone keep talking, and he'll respond with his play on the field.
''Man, I'm getting better every year,'' Marshall said. ''I was talking to Coach Dorrell yesterday and I told him I feel like I'm breaking through my potential. It's weird because I'm 31 years old and it's year 10, but I honestly feel great.''
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