Call it happenstance or good fortune, but with Jay Cutler sidelined with a groin injury, Brandon Marshall appeared took Cutler's place on Cutler’s ESPN radio show Monday afternoon.
The timing was especially perfect, as earlier on Monday Washington Redskins “safety” Brandon Meriweather had some less than flattering things to say about Marshall. If you’ll recall, Marshall last week had floated the notion that Meriweather should be banned from the league after the Redskins player had gotten flagged twice for unnecessary roughness on shots to the heads of Alshon Jeffery and Marshall in the Bears’ Week 7 loss to Washington.
In response to those comments, Meriweather had let loose a pretty nasty tirade, including saying that “I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league too” about allegations involving domestic abuse surrounding Marshall. Those allegations have since been dismissed, but when asked about the comments, Marshall chose to take the high road:
“I’m praying for that guy. He actually reached out to me last week and I told him that I was more concerned about him and his health, because I think a few weeks before our game I saw him lying on the field just out cold (Meriweather suffered a concussion vs. the Green Bay Packers are going helmet-to-helmet with a receiver). It was a scary situation. I never want to see him or any player lay out like that. As far as what he said today, you can only pray for someone with those feelings. So that’s all I have to say about that.”
It’s interesting to contrast the comments that Meriweather made with the response by Marshall. Obviously, there is no reason to continue to escalate the verbal hostilities between the two men, considering that the two teams will not be playing against each other again this season, so Marshall was right to defuse the situation the way that he did.
The comments Marshall made are also reflective of the more mature attitude that the oft-troubled receiver has generally had since coming to the Bears before last season. He still has occasional lapses, but for the most part, he is the consummate team player, and has been an outspoken advocate not only of player safety in the league (his comments on the rules being tough on defensive backs were especially insightful) but also a huge advocate of mental health awareness during his time in Chicago.
Perhaps Marshall’s refusal to engage in a further war of words with Meriweather will result in a cease-fire between the two sides, and maybe someday down the road, these two former Florida high school football rivals can look back on this day and laugh.