In his first appearance as a member of the Bears, three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he considers himself to be in an ideal situation.
"The stability that is here in this organization, from ownership, to the front office, to the locker room -- it's a dream," he said. "I'm very excited, my family's very excited, and we look forward to being an asset to this team, to this organization, and also most importantly to the community."
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In his previous two NFL stops, starting in Denver and then in Miami the last two seasons, Marshall was more of a distraction off the field than an asset. But he believes that having been diagnosed last summer with Borderline Personality Disorder and the subsequent treatment he received will help him be a better person off the field.
And he's certain that being reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler will help him continue to be an impact player on the field.
Production on the field has never been a problem for Marshall. He's had more than 1,000 receiving yards and at least 80 receptions in each of the last five seasons. His two most productive seasons were with the Broncos in 2007 and '08 when Cutler was his quarterback, and he caught a total of 206 passes for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Marshall expressed regret that he and the Dolphins fell short of expectations, which led to the firing of coach Tony Sparano and in turn led to his trade to the Bears. But the 6-foot-4, 230-pound wide receiver called last season an extraordinary learning experience.
"Coach Sparano helped me understand that it's not about the destination; it's about the journey," Marshall said. "Last year the things that we went through as an organization, as a team, was probably the best football moment I've experienced. We started off 0-6, and we all know in professional sports how nasty a building can get when you're losing, (with) the fans, the community, and the tension. It was tough on us, but there was a lot of character built in that locker room last year, and that's a bond that will never be broken."
Now Marshall says he can't wait to reunite with Cutler and contribute to the Bears.
"This journey is going to be amazing," Marshall said. "It's going to be fun; it's going to be exciting to be back with Jay Cutler."
Marshall also expects to use his celebrity to raise awareness about Borderline Personality Disorder as he continues his struggle to overcome the affliction that has resulted in numerous arrests for alcohol-related offenses and domestic violence investigations.
"Just going back the past six years and seeing how things played out in my life and how devastating at times things have been, the turmoil on and off the field really hit home with me," Marshall said. "(With) my foundation, Project Borderline, our mission is to use my experience, my family's experiences, to educate and to break the stigma on mental illness. Statistically one out of every five of us walks around suffering from something, (but) a lot of people are afraid to talk about it.
"It's a taboo topic in our communities, (but) I'm willing to use myself, make myself and my family vulnerable, to break the stigmas. For me to go through the treatment that I went through last off-season and to see the change in myself and to have that feeling of now I can live a healthy and effective life now, it was an amazing experience."