Broncos sign LB Brandon Marshall to 4-year extension
AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Brandon Marshall had to bite his tongue when his position coach suggested after his rookie season on Jacksonville’s practice squad that maybe he wasn’t cut out for the NFL.
Instead of cursing him, he set out to prove him wrong.
Marshall thought back to those bleak but inspiring days with the Jaguars, who cut him three times, when he signed his four-year, $32 million extension with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday.
It wasn’t just when he put ink to paper on his deal that included a $10 million signing bonus and $20 million guaranteed, that Marshall recalled those times, either.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him telling me that,” Marshall said. “It ran through my mind each and every day as I was out there working, as I was out there practicing, lifting weights. That’s my chip, the biggest chip I have because people doubted me.”
If the snub was meant to motivate Marshall, it sure did.
Just look at his last week: It started with a trip to the White House and included a flight to his hometown of Las Vegas, where he received a key to the city and delivered the commencement speech at his old high school, where he talked about perseverance.
He also held his first youth football camp and before he signed his big contract, he received his Super Bowl ring.
“That thing’s amazing,” Marshall said. “It’s huge.”
Marshall will make $2.533 million in 2016, the amount of his restricted free agent tender, and his extension kicks in next year and runs through 2020.
And he still has things he wants to accomplish. “Pro Bowls, All-Pro, those have always been my goals,” he said. “What’s always driven me is not necessarily the money. Even when I was a kid, I just wanted to be the best. … Now what drives me each and every day is OK now, how can I be considered the best ‘backer in the league?”
Still, he won’t let go of that rebuff by the Jaguars.
“I still follow them on Twitter and Instagram just to see what they got going,” Marshall said. “I’m definitely looking forward to that game” on Dec. 4 when the Broncos visit Jacksonville. “That’s still a chip on my shoulder and it won’t leave. I promise you that.
“For me to be sitting here after being cut multiple times and having somebody tell me you’re not good enough, you know all that, it’s amazing.”
Marshall signed with Denver’s practice squad after the Jaguars cut him for the third time in 2013, and he’s posted back-to-back 100-tackle seasons for the Broncos. His 101 stops last season came despite a broken screw in his right foot and a sprained right forefinger that required offseason surgery.
General manager John Elway originally made re-signing Super Bowl MVP Von Miller a priority but turned his attention to Marshall after Miller rejected a six-year offer with $38.5 million fully guaranteed in the first two years.
The Broncos also are hoping to sign wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an extension this summer.
Elway said Marshall has “just scratched the surface” and “we really have big expectations for him” to be an even bigger leader on Denver’s defense.
Marshall is moving over to the weak-side inside linebacker spot after Danny Trevathan bolted to the Chicago Bears in free agency for a four-year, $24.5 million deal. Todd Davis and Corey Nelson are vying to replace Marshall in the starting lineup.
Notes: After waiting 40 years to win a Super Bowl, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will have to wait a little bit longer for his ring. When the Broncos handed out their Super Bowl jewelry last weekend, Phillips’ ring was inscribed with the last name “Peters.” The mix-up might have occurred because the Broncos’ assistant director of college scouting is Adam Peters. Jostens is remaking Phillips’ ring and will ship it to him in the next week or so.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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