PLANTATION, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Marshall walked into the room with a clean slate and a new contract that makes him one of the NFL’s best-paid receivers. No wonder he wore a grin from earring to earring.
One day after being traded by the Denver Broncos to the Miami Dolphins for two second-round draft picks, Marshall held a 20-minute news conference Thursday. Charming and gracious, he said all the right things: He wants to be the best receiver in the NFL while helping his new team win, and because he has learned from past mistakes, the Dolphins need not worry that he’ll get into further trouble.
They’re gambling he won’t. Hours after the trade, the Dolphins gave Marshall a four-year contract extension, and he’ll make an average of about $10 million a year through 2014.
If that makes Marshall the face of the franchise, he’s fine with the role.
“It’s easy for me,” he said. “I’ve been playing football since I was 6 years old. I think I was born with a football in my hand. As long as I continue to do the right thing off the field and stay on this positive track I’m on, the things I’ll do on the field are just habit to me.”
WATCH FOOTAGE FROM BRANDON MARSHALL PRESS CONFERENCE HERE:
In Denver, Marshall caught at least 100 passes each of the past three years and made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons, yet he still wore out his welcome. He clashed with coach Josh McDaniels and has a history of domestic violence, and a long legal record leaves him one strike from a yearlong suspension.
“Early on I made my mistakes,” the 26-year-old Marshall said, pausing to take a deep breath, “and worked through those things. I continue to look myself in the mirror and try to better myself. I’m excited about my future. The past is the past.”
Recently married, Marshall credited his wife with much of his growth as a person. What has he learned from his mistakes?
“To be more patient, to think things through,” he said. “And the biggest thing is to be more of a professional on the field and off the field. Having that spotlight on you at all times, you have to make the right decisions and say the right things. That’s something I’ve learned. This comes with a lot of responsibility.”
Marshall’s agent, Kennard McGuire, expressed confidence there will be no major missteps in Miami for his client.
“He has a sense of peace, he has gotten married, things are coming together for him,” McGuire said. “He has learned from his afflictions and has accepted the criticism that came with that. But he also knows that’s his history, and not who he has grown into today.”
The Dolphins haven’t commented on the trade, but Marshall said football czar Bill Parcells’ message to him was simple: “Let’s win some games.”
Parcells had a rocky relationship with diva receivers Terrell Owens, Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, but Marshall expects no issues with the Dolphins regime.
“This may shock you guys, but I’m no prima donna,” he said with a laugh. “I like to get dirty. I’ll hit the D-end or crack back on the linebacker. Mr. Parcells is the type of guy where if you bust your butt and do your job, you’ll get along just fine with him.”
Marshall made no prima-donna demands about keeping his No. 15, worn in Miami by new teammate Davone Bess. Marshall said he’ll be fine with a different jersey.
“The only number I’m worrying about now is the number of wins we’re going to get next year,” he said.
In 2009, the record was 7-9. Under Parcells and coach Tony Sparano, the Dolphins have been a run-oriented, ball-control team, and they often bogged down last year, when their wideouts totaled six touchdowns.
Marshall had 10 in Denver.
The trade suggests the Miami regime has embraced the notion teams win with the pass these days in the NFL. Marshall gives the Dolphins a chance to do so against AFC East rivals New England, with receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and the New York Jets, with newcomer Santonio Holmes.
“Yeah, they’re pretty good,” Marshall said. “I’ve always thought I was in a league of my own. My goal is to be No. 1. Am I that now? No. But with work and dedication I’ll get there. Hopefully it will be this year. I want to be the best receiver to play this game.”
AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.