Brandon Marshall opens up about Junior Seau’s death, depression
In an op-ed for Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall discussed Junior Seau’s passing and the difficulty that NFL players have with depression.
“Looking at the situation with Seau and other cases with retired athletes, I think our focus should be more on why the transition seems to be so hard after football. As athletes, we go through life getting praised and worshipped and making a lot of money. Our worlds and everything in them — spouses, kids, family, religion and friends — revolve around us. We create a world where our sport is our life and makes us who we are. When the game is taken away from us or when we stop playing, the shock of not hearing the praise or receiving the big bucks often turns out to be devastating. The blueprint I am creating for myself will help not only other athletes, it will help suffering people all over.”
Marshall makes an excellent point. What happens when fans stop cheering their name? What happens when they’re not adored and admired? What happens when they stop getting everything handed to them in life?
That last question isn’t meant to be crass – it’s reality. Because of their gifted athletic abilities, players are privileged from a very young age. They’re used to people making them feel special and handing them opportunities. All of a sudden when that’s gone, what happens? Talk about a transition.
Marshall’s right – what happens when the lights finally go down? Many athletes only know one life and once that’s over, they often don’t know what to do. I talk to former athletes and a lot of them same thing: It’s jarring when their playing careers are over. Some know how to handle it, others don’t.
We can assume that Seau had mental troubles stemming from using his head as a battering ram for 20 seasons in the NFL. And if he had the same condition as Dave Duerson, then we’ll find out soon enough.
But maybe Marshall is right and concussions aren’t the only problem – they’re just part of a bigger, more frightening picture.
Five Quick-Hit Observations from Day 1 of 2012 NFL Free Agency
As expected, teams didn’t waste any time making a splash on Day 1 of the 2012 NFL free agency period. (Funny how so many deals get done minutes after the opening of free agency when teams and players aren’t supposed to talk to each other until then.) While the receivers stole the show on Tuesday, the biggest name on the market is still without a home. Below are quick-hit observations from the first day of the NFL free agency period.
1. The Bears and Brandon Marshall are a perfect marriage (at least for now).
Most of the speculation involving the Bears the past 24 hours was centered on Mario Williams. But it was another big name acquisition that rookie general manager Phil Emery had his eye on. The Bears have been without a prototypical l No. 1 receiver for decades but Marshall will change all of that. From what I’ve read, Marshall deeply respects Jay Cutler and the feeling is mutual. Cutler targeted Marshall early and often while in Denver and as long as the latter can keep his head on straight, this trade should benefit the Bears greatly. And while some Chicago fans were clamoring for Emery to sign Vincent Jackson, the Bears’ faithful have to be ecstatic about landing Marshall instead. As for the Dolphins, two third-round picks are nice but Miami is now left with Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Clyde Gats as its top three receivers. The Dolphins lacked offensive talent coming into the offseason and today they just sent their top playmaker to Chicago. While they may have parted with a headache, they just created another need for themselves in the process.
2. The Redskins overpaid for Garcon, but they’ve upgraded their receiver corps nonetheless.
The Daniel Snyder-led Redskins have been overpaying free agents for the better part of a decade. So when I read that they gave Pierre Garcon a five-year, $42.5 million contract it was hardly surprising. There’s no doubt they overpaid for Garcon’s services, but at least the fit is good. The former Colt is very good after the catch, which certainly suits head coach Mike Shanahan’s West Coast offense. Along with Garcon, the Skins also added Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal, so a team that desperately needed more playmakers on offense has come out of the gates strong this offseason. Robert Griffin III should sleep easy tonight knowing that his future receiving corps just got dramatically better over the last 24 hours.
3. It’s good to see the Glazer Family spend some of the Bucs’ cap money.
Two years ago the Buccaneers won 10 games and nearly qualified for the playoffs mostly because of a weak schedule. So the Glazer Family decided that they weren’t going to spend money last offseason in order to improve a young team that still needed to be tweaked. (Oh sorry, unless you want to consider the six-year, $19.5 million contract they gave free agent punter Michael Koenen.) This year, however, the Bucs made a statement by signing Vincent Jackson on day one of free agency. Even though Jackson could be limited in new head coach Greg Schiano’s run-heavy offense, at least Tampa Bay is actually trying to make improvements to its roster. When healthy and you know, playing, Jackson is a multi-faceted receiver. He’s a deep threat, he has great hands, he runs excellent routes, and he blocks extremely well. He’s the complete package and while $26 million in guaranteed money is steep, at least the Glazers finally cracked open that checkbook of theirs.
4. I can’t see Mario Williams winding up in Buffalo.
If I were Mario Williams I would go on as many visits as were offered to me. Premier edge rushers aren’t exactly available down aisle three at Wal-Mart, so he might as well make the most of the opportunity that he’s been given. Thus, there’s no reason not to go to Buffalo and listen to what the Bills have to offer. Apparently they’re willing to pay him as the top defensive player in the league, which is obviously great for Williams. But at the end of the day I just can’t see Williams signing with a team that’s not a contender. Sure Buffalo came out of the gates hot last year and maybe Williams would be their missing piece. But Ryan Fitzpatrick eventually cooled off and the team’s play fell off a cliff. There’s no doubt that Williams would improve their chances greatly, but there has to be another team willing to pay his asking price. Granted, he may have to take less to go to a contender but at least he would have a legitimate shot at reaching a Super Bowl. With the Patriots in the same division as the Bills, I just don’t see Buffalo contending for a playoff spot soon.
UPDATE: As I was saying, Mario Williams is a perfect fit for Buffalo.
5. Weren’t the Colts rebuilding?
I have no idea what the Indianapolis Colts are doing these days. Last year proved how devoid of overall talent they had when Peyton Manning didn’t play a snap and the team fell apart. And with Peyton off to destinations unknown, the Colts have a long ways to go before being respectable again. After cleaning house last week by parting ways with players like Manning, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and Gary Brackett, I thought the team was going to start over with a massive rebuilding project this offseason. Instead, they re-upped with 31-year-old Robert Mathis on a lucrative deal and today signed Reggie Wayne to a three-year, $17.5 million contract. Mathis, and to a lesser extent, Wayne, are still productive players but I’m just not sure what the Colts’ game plan is here. Are they rebuilding or are they just trying to hold onto the past in any way they can?
Posted in: NFL
Tags: Brandon Marshall, Brandon Marshall Bears, Brandon Marshall trade, Chicago Bears, Eddie Royal Redskins, Josh Morgan Redskins, Mario Williams, Mario Williams Bills, Mike Shanahan, NFL offseason signings, NFL offseason signings 2012, NFL rumors, Pierre Garcon, Pierre Garcon contract, Pierre Garcon Redskins, Reggie Wayne, Reggie Wayne Colts, Reggie Wayne contract, Robert Griffin III, Vincent Jackson, Vincent Jackson Bucs, Vincent Jackson contract, Washington Redskins
Brandon Marshall reunited with Jay Cutler
Jay Glazer is reporting on Twitter that the Miami Dolphins have traded Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two 3rd round draft picks. This is huge news for Jay Cutler and the Bears, and many are speculating that the Dolphins are clearing out Marshall to make room for Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. It also impacts the Vincent Jackson sweepstakes. We’ll see . . .
2011 NFL Week 13 Primer
Eagles @ Seahawks, 8:20PM ET, Thursday
Philadelphia is just the latest example of what usually happens to everyone’s preseason chic pick. Granted, there’s still time for the Eagles to turn things around and if they win out, there’s a chance they could sneak in the back door of the postseason. But I’m not so sure they’ll even win tonight against the Seahawks. Although they lost to Washington last Sunday, Seattle is usually tough to beat at home and the Eagles have been sleepwalking all year. That’s a very undisciplined, unfocused team that Andy Reid is running these days.
Raiders @ Dolphins, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Just when positive things start to happen in Miami, Brandon Marshall finds himself in handcuffs. Apparently police in Broward County, Florida briefly detained the receiver after he was accused of fleeing a $142 cab fee around 5:00AM on November 14. The rest of the details are fantastic. The cab driver said that Marshall “didn’t know where he wanted to go” and “When I woke him up and told him he had to pay, he said he wasn’t and started arguing for me to take him home.” Get this, Marshall blamed the “misunderstanding” on the cab driver’s “accent,” although it sounds as if he wouldn’t have understood anyone given the condition he was in. How good of shape are you when you’re falling asleep in the back of cabs at 5:00AM?
Broncos @ Vikings, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Von Miller underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair torn ligaments in his thumb and may not play on Sunday for the Broncos. That’s bad news for a Denver team that has had to rely on its defense and the one-quarter of magic from Tim Tebow every week. Miller is a runaway candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and if he can’t go, the Broncos defense will be down one of its biggest playmakers (if not the biggest playmaker). Of course, if Adrian Peterson doesn’t suit up for Minnesota then Denver only really has to worry about Percy Harvin.
Falcons @ Texans, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Don’t be surprised if T.J. Yates surprises this Sunday. First and foremost, he played in a pro-style offense under John Shoop and Butch Davis at North Carolina and Atlanta will be down two of its top three corners (Brent Grimes and Kelvin Hayden). Christopher Owens, who will start for Grimes (knee), was the poor lad that was repeatedly torched by Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Divisional Round last January and Dominique Franks (who will start at nickel in place of Hayden), has received very little PT the past two years.
Titans @ Bills, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
While I think the Texans can survive thanks to their running game and defense, this is the time for the Titans to take the governor off and amp things up. Tennessee has a legitimate shot of catching Houston in the AFC South because of T.J. Yates’ inexperience. But the Titans need to win, including this weekend against a struggling Buffalo team. The Bills are without Fred Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick is reeling right now. Tennessee has to take advantage.
Bengals @ Steelers, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
It’s put up or shut up time for the Bengals this weekend in Pittsburgh. If they can’t prove that they can beat the Steelers, then nobody is going to consider them legit contenders. On the flip side, if Andy Dalton and Co. pull off the upset then Cincinnati will very much remain in the thick of things in the AFC North. This game could provide a very clear picture of how the rest of the season will play out for the Bengals.
Panthers @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
What a complete role reversal for Tampa Bay. While the Saints and on a smaller scale, the Falcons, improved their rosters this offseason, the Bucs rested on their laurels outside of signing a punter (Michael Koenen). The Tampa front office, which has always been cheap anyway, figured it didn’t need to make any upgrades after the team won 10 games last year and now the Bucs are paying for it. They’re clearly overmatched and lack playmakers to compete with New Orleans and Atlanta in the division. If they lose at home to the upstart Panthers this Sunday, it’ll officially be the lowest point of the season for the Bucs.
Colts @ Patriots, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
There’s really not any point in breaking this game down, right? I mean, not even a little bit. The Colts haven’t played well all season and while a quarterback change may bring a little optimism to Indy’s locker room, the switch is Curtis Painter for Dan Orlovsky. That’s only about a droplet of optimism right there.
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Posted in: NFL
Tags: Andy Dalton, Andy Reid, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Marshall cab, Caleb Hanie, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Brees, Jack Del Rio, Mark Sanchez, Ndamukong Suh, NFL Week 13, NFL Week 13 Preview, Philip Rivers, Steve Spagnuolo, T.J. Yates, Von Miller, Von Miller surgery
Five months of frustration about to vanish with NFL lockout coming to an end
If you were one of the many NFL fans that said you were done watching football because of all the greed that has taken place over the last five months between the players and owners, you can officially stop lying to yourself right now. Because once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been signed, you know damn well that the first thing you’re going to do is check the rumor mill to see what your favorite team has in store in terms of free agency.
And hey, I’m not judging you. There have been many times over the last couple of months that I wanted to say that I too was done with football. That I wasn’t going to dump a couple of hundred dollars on NFL Sunday Ticket and only further line the pockets of the super-rich. But I would have been lying to myself as well.
According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the “economics” of the labor agreement are done and there have been several reports over the last couple of days that state the CBA will be signed anytime between now and Tuesday. Once that happens and the free agent winds start blowing, what happened over these last five months will quickly fade until nobody even remembers how nasty this entire process has been for everyone involved. People may say differently. They may say that they will never forget what has transpired and won’t return. But the truth of the matter is that the NFL is still king. As long as gambling and fantasy football (which might as well be gambling) never ceases to exist, people will continue to watch. It’s the most popular sport in America.
For those few and far between that really won’t come back, I commend you. Instead of spending countless hours this fall watching players and a game that you have zero impact on, you’ll turn a blind eye and do something else. Don’t line anyone’s pockets but your own. I wish I could do the same thing but I’m not as strong as you are. I love the NFL and no matter how much frustration it has caused fans over these last couple of months, I’m going to welcome it back with open arms once the games count in September.
Sure, like a scorned lover I won’t dive back in with two feet. I’ll proceed with caution as if the water is infested with piranha. But over time, I’ll be fully invested again. It’s football after all.
- Brandon Marshall told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his wife did not stab him and that he truly did slip on a vase. This is also the same Brandon Marshall who once said he slipped on a McDonald’s wrapper and wound up putting his forearm through a television set. So this is either the unluckiest, goofiest human being on the face of the planet or my man is doing some lying.
- The new salary cap in the NFL will reportedly be $120 million and will also come with a salary floor. Thus, some teams will be forced to spend money on free agents just to qualify for the salary floor. That means you, Malcolm Glazer…
- James Harrison has released a lengthy statement apologizing for his harsh comments on commissioner Roger Goodell and teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall. Of course, the only thing he apologized for in reference to Goodell was his “careless use of a slang word.” Nothing like apologizing without really apologizing, eh James?
- Tom Watson hit a hole-in-one in the second round of the British Open today to give him his 15th ace of his career. I think I speak for all weekend golfers who have never hit one hole-in-one in their lifetime (not to mention 15) when I say: Congrats, Tom…you douche bag.
Posted in: Golf, NFL
Tags: 2011 NFL lockout, Anthony Stalter, Brandon Marshall, Headlines, James Harrison, NFL lockout, nfl lockout ending, nfl lockout rumors, NFL salary cap, Roger Goodell, tom watson, tom watson hole in one