*WR Brandon Marshall spoke with the media Thursday and gave his first impressions of Big Blue: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – "No comment" apparently is not part of Brandon Marshall's lexicon.
The 12-year veteran and first-season Giants wide receiver spoke to the media after the today's organized team activity (OTA), and no question was off-limits. Not the criticism hurled at him last week by Sheldon Richardson, the Jets' defensive lineman and his former teammate (Marshall ended his opening statement with, "Sheldon Richardson question, go ahead and open it up"), the absence of fellow wideout Odell Beckham, Jr., and even his past mental health issues.
Marshall is clearly comfortable in his own skin. And he is just as obviously happy that he signed with the Giants on March 8, five days after he was cut by the Jets.
"I am extremely excited about being in this organization," Marshall said. "A rich history and probably a top three organization in the National Football League, and maybe one of the best organizations in all of sports. You hear about it and it is a known thing across the league, but when you are in here, you can feel it. I had an opportunity to sit at the desk with Phil Simms for a few years at Showtime, Inside the NFL, and he is always talking about it. I thought that he was just blowing smoke up my butt, but this truly is a special place. The difference between this place and others is that every organization that you go to, you find a person, whether it is in the equipment room or cafeteria, that has been around 20, 25 years, but every department (here), you hear of people being here 13, 14, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years and that is special. It keeps the team together."
Marshall – who has 941 receptions and 82 touchdowns in his career – has impressed his new teammates and coaches with his ability, work ethic, and upbeat attitude.
"Brandon has been a breath of fresh air for us," coach Ben McAdoo said. "He comes out, he works hard at football. You can see he loves football. It's refreshing to have a guy that's been as productive as he has over his career and played as long as he's played being out here working the way he works. You can really see he loves the game."
"He's a big guy (6-5), so he gives us that big presence on the outside," said second-year receiver Sterling Shepard. "He's a great guy to learn from. Just the little stuff, he'll come and help you out with on the side. He doesn't really know the system yet, so it's hard for him to help you with anything that has to do with schemes. But when it comes to technique, he's always there with the side coaching."
Marshall also sets an example off the field, as he did with the professionalism he displayed at his news conference. It was particularly noticeable when he deftly responded to a question about whether Richardson's criticism bothered him. Richardson said there were "15 reasons," the Jets' locker room is better this year. Marshall's jersey number is 15.
"The first couple years of my career – more than the first couple years, probably the first five years, I wasn't responsible with this amazing platform that we have," Marshall said. "Once I got that, which it is mental health awareness month, I ended up at McLean Hospital in a three-month outpatient program. I studied dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization therapy, self-assessment. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and that was probably the most phenomenal experience for me and the reason why is because this is just a platform to fulfill my purpose. I truly believe that my wife and I's purpose is to help bridge the gap in the mental health community. And it makes no sense for me to walk into this organization and this locker room and blow that up because (football) is easy. I have been doing this since I was six years old. Father time will win eventually, but until then I am just going to continue to kick my own butt and work extremely hard so I can continue to have a voice. We are doing some amazing things in the community and really saving lives and we have to continue to fight the fight."
Instead of criticizing Beckham for missing a voluntary workout, Marshall focused on his fellow receiver's astounding athleticism.
"One day we were in the weight room and he was hanging from the bars with one hand, and then fell and caught himself with the other hand on the floor," Marshall said. "I know you can't follow what I am saying, but for him to have that type of body control is just unbelievable. He is probably the best athlete that I have ever seen. I mean he can kick a soccer ball, he can kick a football, he can throw a baseball, he can hit a baseball. I am not saying that I am envious, but dang I wish I could be him."
The Giants are very happy that as a player and person, he's Brandon Marshall.
Brandon Marshall takes the field for the first time as a Giant