Veteran receiver speaks of commitment to the journey and to helping the team win.
An odd twist of fate might have brought receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Giants, but he’s hoping that hard work and paying attention to the details delivers the ultimate reward that every NFL player dreams of achieving: winning a Super Bowl championship.
The 32-year-old Marshall, in a conference call with Giants beat writers after signing his new Giants contract reported to be for two years and $12 million, spent a good 15 minutes sharing the tale behind his now famous Twitter avatar photo of a Giants player holding up the Lombardi trophy, his unfulfilled NFL quest to win a Super Bowl, and how he believes he’ll be able to fit into a Giants receivers room already busting with the likes of superstar Odell Beckham Jr. and up-and-comer Sterling Shepard.
Marshall, a 12-year NFL veteran, said the decision to sign with the Giants wasn’t based on money. “They definitely didn’t offer me the most money; it probably was the least money,” he said. “It’s all about winning a championship.”
— Brandon Marshall (@BMarshall) March 8, 2017
To prove it wasn’t about the money, Marshall said that following his release from the Jets, he did a Google search to find a random picture of the Lombardi trophy to replace his previous avatar because he wanted the avatar to reflect what he was looking for in his next team.
Marshall’s search just so happened to bring him to what turned out to be a picture of a Giants player hoisting the coveted hardware, something he didn’t know at the time since the picture only showed the player’s arm.
“The funny story about (the avatar), is literally when I got released, I went online and I said, ‘Ok, what is this process about for me?’ It’s about a championship and the best way to illustrate that and remind myself of that no matter how much money or different situations thrown at me, that it comes down to this,” he said.
Once the picture was posted, Marshall didn’t give it a second thought—until his agent questioned his choice.
“About three days ago, (a reporter) ended up searching and found a full picture of a New York Giants player holding the trophy,” he said. “I had no clue that it was of a Giants player. So my agent is calling me asking me what I’m doing (using the picture) and I’m like, ‘Honestly, I had no clue,’—I just knew this was exactly how I wanted to be.”
As it turned out, the picture had even deeper meaning for Marshall.
“What’s cool about that picture is the guy holding the trophy is a receiver, Devin Thomas, and he’s wearing No. 15. So I had no clue that was a picture of a Giants player, but that was pretty cool.”
With his eye on one day hoisting the Lombardi trophy, the newest and now most senior member of the Giants receivers room, Marshall plans to be a resource for his new teammates, starting of course with his hope to take some of the double coverage that teams have deployed against Beckham away.
“I just think there’s a lot of opportunity on the other side of Odell, and with the young guys,” he said. “Obviously, every team tries to take out Odell, so just to help the offense and keep opposing defense honest.”
Marshall who last year had some advice for Beckham when the younger receiver was going through some turmoil, said that he has a “great relationship” with Beckham, one that the two men have been building on over the last two years
“I just love the guy to death,” Marshall said. “He’s the biggest start in the NFL. I love his passion, his approach to the game, and I’m just happy to be on the other side of him to pull coverage and make his job easier.
“He’s like a sponge who really wants to learn and whom I’m sure is going to use me when he needs to and pull from my experiences, both good and bad, so I’m excited to see him take it to another level—this kid isn’t even in his prime yet, so I can’t wait to be a part of his journey and maturation process.”
Off the field in the receivers meeting room, Marshall, who said he’s looking forward to learning from his new teammates, wants to be there in a support role for his fellow receivers, the oldest of whom is 26-year-old Tavarres King.
“I have a wealth of experience that our younger guys can pull through that organically,” he said. “I think it’s something that doesn’t need to be forced or planned. I think those guys when they need to, they’ll pull from me in an organic way.”
With his contract on the books, Marshall’s next order of business is to get together with quarterback Eli Manning, who is trying to organize some workout days ahead of the team’s April 18 start date for their offseason conditioning program so the receivers and quarterback can begin to develop a feel for one another.
Marshall is excited to have the chance to work with the two-time Super Bowl wining quarterback, whom he said was one of the first of his new teammates to reach out.
“I think one of the things people outside of the building, including myself really don’t know how hard he works in the classroom and his capacity in between his ears. That’s something I found out the last couple of days in getting to know him.
“He’s one of the best in terms of understanding the game plan, understanding the opposing team is gonna throw at us, and that’s the part I’m most excited about because that’s where you win games.”
Before they can win games though, there is a lot of work to be done, a process that Marshall said starts with training, building the camaraderie and getting to know the men with whom he’ll go into battle each week who share the same goal of hoisting the Lombardi trophy next February.
“Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal. That’s what all players and coaches are trying to achieve every year. Yes, I do want to accomplish that, but just look at my journey. I’m been in the league now going on 12 years and I’ve never made the playoffs. That tells you just how hard it is—and I’ve been with some great organizations and played with some great players.
“Making the playoffs is extremely hard, but I’m dedicated to the process and the best way I can describe the way I approach it is being able to have a real shot at it. That’s what I think I have here.”
It’s his dedication to the process–a process in which he also said will include less media activity–that could end up pushing him to retire his his current Twitter avatar for something that serves as a new reminder of what needs to be done.
“I can take that trophy down and maybe put a picture of the cold tub or the weight room or the classroom and so on because that’s the process,” he said. “Once you crush that, you’ll have a chance to get that (trophy).”