Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall
December 28, 2017
Q: What has this experience been like for you, being injured for most of the season?
A: Itís a unique experience because I think a majority of my career Iíve been in this type of environment and Iím usually in the center of it so it felt good to not be in the center of the drama. So that was interesting, but as you grow you can understand things a little bit better. I think Iíve grown a lot through this season being on the other side of it. Adversity, it reveals who you are and we hear this quote so many times, but itís so true, it reveals who you are. But itís the perfect opportunity for you to see that and then make changes. Thatís the unique thing about football. You come in a boy, you start playing the game as a boy and if you stick around long enough, you become a man. So you learn a lot through these type of times, but itís really hard to get through them.
Q: How are you feeling physically? Are there any long term concerns?
A: Well I only need a couple more years so Iím not really concerned about long term as long as it can give me two-three more years, Iíll be perfectly fine and I think I will be. I really took this time to work on all the little things that we kind of neglect as we become pros, get back to those college workouts. My focus since a week after my surgery has been living in the weight room and rebuilding myself to come back stronger, faster, more explosive, and healthier. I havenít just been working on my ankle and my toe, Iíve been working on pretty much everything in my body. When you get older it takes a while for things to get going and fire, things deactivate so you spend a lot of those times working on those secondary muscles. So Iím really excited about this offseason because I really spent the last two months priming myself and getting myself ready. So I should be running, Iím already kind of running now, but really out there running with no restrictions in a couple of weeks.
Q: Does this season and this injury alter your timeline for how long you want to play?
A: Yeah I mean the cool thing about injuries is youíre alone and when youíre alone, you get a chance to do some soul searching and really look deep down into yourself and for me, Iíve realized a lot and I love this game and I wouldnít say Iíve had one foot in, one foot out, but you never want to be that guy thatís hanging on a little too long. You never want to be that guy come December, youíre 35 years old, youíre still working out expecting a call. I think the reason why a lot of us are so unhealthy when we leave the game is because football is in our identity. When the game is taken away from us or we can no longer play the game, we are lost. For me, Iíve always tried to prepare myself for that whether it is in business or Showtime and my fitness company and these last couple months for me put things into perspective. So Iíve kind of scaled back on a lot of things Iím doing and Iím really focusing on crushing these last couple of years. Iím all in on football, Iíve rebuilt my body. I think Iím two great years away from and Iíll say it, I want to be a Hall of Famer and I think I got two great years to go to be mentioned with some of the greats. Iím not just playing this game just to be a guy, I want to be remembered for the product that I put out on the field. So these last few years have been tough, last year with the Jets, this year with the Giants, but Iím hopeful that the next couple years for me will be some amazing years and some of my best work.
Q: Is there any doubt that you want to return to the Giants?
A: You know how it is, you get to the plus side of 30, a production slip, you get injured, the business side of it, history says that youíre going to get cut or they are going to ask you to take a pay cut. Thatís the business side of it, thatís history. So Iím prepared for that, Iíve had a lot of change in my life, but one of the reasons why I came to this organization was for stability and also not to be an environment that we created this year, right? So I was looking for more stability, but Iím built for this and Iíll learn from it.
Q: Are you willing to take another pay cut to return to the Giants next year?
A: Well one, itís not about the money for me. Iíve done well, my wife and I, weíve done a great job. So itís not about the money. Iím good for life, my kids are good for life. But Iím back to my beast, bullish, Brandon Marshall ways. The things that you guys have seen get me in trouble year one, year two, year three, year four, Iím back to that type of mentality. I want it all. Itís about respect, itís about finishing strong and although itís not about the money, but Iím approaching it as whatever is for me, I want it all. If thatís $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, I want it all. Whatever Iím worth, I want it all.
Q: How interested are you to see whoís going to be the quarterback next year?
A: Eli Manning is our quarterback so thatís what it is right now and I think everyone is moving forward with that in mind. Obviously like I said, things change in the National Football League and that stuff will play itself out. My focus right now is getting myself back healthy. When March comes and whoever comes in as general manager, head coach, I want them to look at me and say what the hell is this? I want to go out there and the first route I run I want them to say is this guy 33 years old? Is this really a 33-year-old receiver who has come off two surgeries? So thatís my focus right now is just to reinvent myself. I want to go back on the field and I want everybody in the NFL to say this guy needs to be tested for steroids and HGH. Like there is no way this guy should look like this and move like that. So thatís my only focus moving forward.
Q: Was the shoulder that you injured in the preseason game at Cleveland bothering you the first few games?
A: My mind was hurt. When you get injured, you can take that time and really do some soul searching and for me, it came with the mentality of being a wing man, it came with the mentality of Iíll take less to play for a contender, I came with the mentality that Iím content, but I donít need to do it all. And Iíve gotten back to the way of I want it all. I want to be an All-Pro receiver, I want to be a Pro Bowl player and I think thatís what makes players great, that tamed selfishness of wanting it all. I want to win a Super Bowl, thatís my number one priority, I want to be an All-Pro receiver, I want to be a Pro Bowl player and I came in with the mentality of just wanting to win a Super Bowl.
Q: To clarify, are you saying that you were out of sorts after the hit in the preseason game in Cleveland?
A: I donít know what youíre talking about. When I said mentally, I mean my mentality. Physically, I was fine. Obviously, weíre all dealing with something. This being my 12th year, of course I have things that are there, but the only thing that affected me this year was my mentality. Coming to a new team, leaving the Jets, and there being talk there about Brandon being in the center of the drama because weíve got guys being late every damn day and you step to a guy and try to hold him accountable, then youíre in the center of the drama. So, I came here with a mentality of laying low, not really being myself and thatís not me. Iím an outgoing guy, I play with a lot of emotions, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I learned from this year, you know? And next year will be better. Iíll be a better leader, Iíll be a better football player and Iíll come with a dog mentality of getting the job done.
Q: What do you think wrong with this team this season?
A: I think what we need to do moving forward is, and if I have the privilege of being here, I think I want to bring in my really good friend, Jon Gordon, whose, like, an expert in culture and team building. But it starts in the locker room, it starts with the players. And I think that thereís probably like 10 or 12 of us that need to get together. We need to rebuild relationships, fix relationships because this is what happens, this isnít a unique situation. Iíve been in this situation my entire career, so this is normal when youíre losing. Itís really tough, itís a long year, itís a long season. So what we need to do first is, we need to rebuild some relationships, come together, work through some tough issues. And then once we do that, then we need to come together and figure out how we want to run our locker room. What type of leadership do we want to have, what does leadership look like? Because itís different for everyone else. We need the type of leadership thatís going to bring guys together, thatís not decisive. We need leadership thatís going to hold guys accountable, even if it comes down to guys getting in each otherís faces, at the right time, before itís too late. We need leadership thatís going to make guys better, the younger guys. Bringing them up to speed, showing them what professional work ethic looks like, that mentality of coming to work every single day. Thatís the type of leadership we need. Youíve got guys that have that. ĎSnacksí [defensive tackle Damon Harrison] is a phenomenal leader, he has a lot of potential. [Safety] Landon Collins, he has that, he has a lot of potential. But you learn, every year you get stronger and stronger. Every situation Iíve been in, every team Iíve been on, Iíve done it the right way and Iíve done it the wrong way and Iíve always sat back and tried to reflex on it and tried to build on that. So, I want to take some of those things that Iíve learned about being in some tough situations, even some good situations and with some leaders and tried to figure out how we can do it together.
Q: When did you notice that there needs to be more leadership?
A: When we started losing. Iíve never been in the type of team meeting that Coach McAdoo had. The energy, I got goosebumps. I walked in that first team meeting, the music was on, guys were dancing and loving on each other and I was like, ĎOh my gosh, Iím ready to play a game now.í In camp, we were like internet sensations. The locker room, guys dancing and coming together, Iíve never been a part of that. Then we got into the season and we lost a game. Winning is contagious and losing is contagious. But unfortunately, when youíre in a billion dollar business and you have million dollar athletes, when you start losing the shit gets out of control quick. Same thing that happened with the Jets, same thing that happened in Chicago, it happens. Relationships are damaged, people get fired. And one of the things that Iíve learned is that weíre all interconnected and itís really hard to keep that together when youíre being evaluated every single day and thereís so much on the line. You canít take a day off. Weíre together more throughout the year as teammates than we are with our families. We barely spend time with our families. Iím with these guys, weíre with each other six days out of the week. Weíre all interconnected and itís extremely tough when youíre losing and thereís so much on the line. Thereís jobs on the line, people are going to be fired, kids are going to have to switch schools and make new friends and thatís the toughest part. So, it just can get out of control really quick. So what happened here is no different than what happened with the Jets. My time being in the league, itís no different than what happened in Chicago, itís no different than what happened in Denver, itís no different than what happened in Miami. Hell, in Miami, we had a coach being interviewed, the owner and the general manager were interviewing the coach and we still had a coach sitting in office. They didnít even fire the guy yet! So, Iíve seen it all, man. I remember walking in [former Miami Dolphins Head] Coach [Tony] Sparanoís office and watching ESPN and weíre like, ĎOh, the general manager and the owner just landed in California to interview Harbaugh. What?í This business is crazy, man, but I love it.
Q: Do you have a sense of compassion for cornerback Eli Apple?
A: When I read [NJ.com Giants Beat Reporter] Dan [Dugganís] article Ė and I think you guys know my thoughts on that Ė one, I thought that it was one of the most disgusting articles Iíve read in my 12 years because although you can say, he followed procedure and it was proper, but I think the line was crossed. I donít think you dive deep into a manís personal life. You donít go talk about someoneís parents getting divorced. You donít go search for that. You donít go search for some guyís financials. Itís already hard enough in this world. You donít go dive and try to figure out how this guy is spending his money and what heís doing with his family. To me, thatís just crossing a line. And I know not everyone agrees with me on that, but when I read that article, my perspective changed and my perspective changed because it reminded me of 80% of the guys in a locker room. We all go through this, itís not a unique thing. But the only way you get through it is with family and privacy. And I have compassion for him. I was just one of the cases where I was able to perform and continue to produce while I was going through some of the toughest things. Thereís a lot of things that werenít reported about me Ė me and my story. But if some of the things that I went through with my father and my brothers and some of my closest friends was reported, we wouldíve never gotten through those things. So Eli, I do have compassion for him. And I talked to him and I want to spend time with him this offseason and I told him, itís not about football. I want to help him get through this because my story, I ended up in a mental institute for three months. I was in an outpatient program because like so many other guys in this locker room that were atlas. The guy was holding up the world, youíre holding up your family and everybody around. What that does to a person, especially a young kid, fresh out of college with no life experiences that could break people down. And for me, I ended up in a mental institute for three months. So, thatís what I saw when I read that story. As a guy thatís really struggling off the field and having a tough time of being a professional every single day when he comes to work. Heís a phenomenal athlete, heís a good person, heís just going through some things right. So, with the proper approach and the right people around him, he can get his career back on track because the last thing you want is to be, is labeled. Iíve been labeled my entire career and you canít shake it, no matter where you go. They say, ĎIím going to give you a clean slate.í The media will embrace you, the fans will embrace you, but as soon as anything comes up that looks anything like something of the past, itís thrown right back in your face. You donít have that type of grace, people donít give you that grace when you go through things and youíre labeled a cancer, or youíre labeled a problem, a bad teammate. So for Eli, he has some work to do and I think that he can get his career back on track because heís a great kid. Got a lot love in his heart, a great talent. But he just needs to work on it this offseason and whatever happens, I think heíll be fine.