By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) Brandon Marshall didn’t want anyone to miss the show.
He encouraged the remaining reporters standing in the empty locker room to follow him down the hallway to the press conference room where he promised “something juicy.”
“I’m always giving you guys soundbites,” he said when he arrived at the lectern. “I’m always giving you something that’s juicy, giving you nice stories. So you got to work with me now.”
Before diving into the recent drama surrounding his perceived lack of targets (he currently ranks eighth in the NFL with 46 targets this season), Marshall first wanted to talk about what his foundation was doing during Mental Health Awareness Week.
“One of the things I’m going to do is wear lime green spikes this week (against the Giants),” Marshall said. “The league is going to hit me with a nice little fine and I’m asking them to take my money and the money I’m going to match and give it to a great foundation doing some work in the mental health community.”
Lime green is the color for mental health awareness and Marshall went on to give lime green ties and bow ties to reporters who could answer his trivia questions about mental health.
“My wife told me to tell you ladies that bow ties is going to be in for the women, so get your bow ties,” he said.
We can only hope that isn’t true.
Meanwhile, the state of Marshall’s own mental health appears to be the more relevant topic inside the walls of Halas Hall.
“I’m past that,” he said when asked about his diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. “It’s one of those things where I had to go through it, and when I went through it I didn’t realize how effective treatment was.”
Marshall went through outpatient treatment before being traded to the Bears in 2012 and says he is not on medication. Instead, his coping mechanism is communicating what’s on his mind, which is probably why his frustrations over not getting the ball enough in the last two losses came to a forefront.
“It’s not bottling everything up. So that’s why I say I’m not a politician. I’m always going to tell the truth,” Marshall said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s behind closed doors or if it’s to you guys. I’m going to say what’s on my mind. I’m not going to try to be disruptive, but I’m going to validate my own feelings. That’s what I mean by that.”
Of course, in the NFL, where teams prefer to keep most honest thoughts in-house, that coping mechanism doesn’t always work.
“In the world of sports, it’s keep everything behind closed doors, play it down. No. If you pay a receiver $10 million, for them to be OK with not being productive, get out of here,” Marshall said. “If I’m a coach or an owner of a team some day and I’m paying a receiver that much money and he’s happy and he’s not complaining or communicating with me about wanting more, he’s got to go.”
Which is why Marshall is demanding the ball, even though he is tied with Wes Welker and Andre Johnson for the most receptions in the NFL (149) since joining the Bears.
“I don’t think any receiver would be happy playing in the NFL and not catching balls,” Marshall said. “So yeah. I want to catch footballs. I want to score touchdowns.”
In fairness, that’s the mentality of all wide receivers. Marshall might just communicate that more publicly than most because of his history with Borderline Personality Disorder.
“I know where you’re going with this, but listen, one of the things that I’ve learned along the way is that you have to validate people, and like I said before, I’m always going to be honest and I’m not a politician, so with that being said I’m always going to shoot you guys straight. I’m paid to make plays and that’s what I’m going to do until my time’s up in the NFL.”
Certainly, the Bears have no problem with that, but it’s hard to believe they’re comfortable with their star wide receiver holding a 23-minute press conference about coping with not getting the football. Publicly, Bears head coach Marc Trestman insists Marshall has not been a distraction, but even Marshall admitted he’s taken things too far on the field at times this season.
“The first few weeks — Coach Trestman calls it a ‘palms up guy’ — I’m coming off the sideline like, man, what’s going on, it’s been three drives? So I go to coach and say, ‘Man I’m sorry, I won’t be a palms up guy,’ and I’ve gotten better. I’ll work on that. It’s a process, I’m human. I’m still proud of the track that we’re on as a team and my role on it.”
And as long as that role includes getting the football, it will stay that way.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.