Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall underwent arthroscopic hip surgery in January, and he has expressed frustration with his conditioning not speeding along as fast as he would like.
“I’m not where I want to be right now. It’s a little frustrating. But we’ll see. Some people might think I need to be farther on than where I am, so it’s a little frustrating not being where I want to be right now and maybe being pushed a little bit,” he said. Marshall also said he is confused with his role in new head coach Marc Trestman’s offense.
Teammate Martellus Bennett came to the aid of Marshall, saying he’s frustrated with his body, and he isn’t really worried about his close friend.
“He’s just frustrated more with his body more than anything else,” Bennett said. “When you come back from an injury, you just have to keep working. I’m not really worried about him.”
Marshall was a no-show to practice Wednesday, a day before the team’s final preseason game, in which the Bears lost 18-16, and a report claimed it was because he was unhappy with how the Bears were treating his situation. The Bears certainly do not need any turmoil heading into a season for which they have high expectations.
There have been reports that his absence was due to a scheduled rehab appointment, and Marshall’s agent Kennard McGuire released a statement in regard to these rumors.
“As far as not being there, this has been planned with the Bears and Brandon long before [Tuesday]. Any other suggestions, thoughts or implications are all divisive and unfair to Brandon and the Bears organization,” McGuire said.
The Bears absolutely cannot afford to have Marshall angry or not at 100 percent. Marshall had 194 passes thrown in his direction last season and had the highest percentage of targets compared to some of the most prominent receivers in the NFL.
Outside of Marshall, the team is pretty thin at options other than Bennett and seventh-round pick Marquess Wilson, who quarterback Jay Cutler has targeted often in this preseason. Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett are a part of the Bears’ arsenal as well, and it will be interesting to see if they can help the cause this year.
We have no idea how Jeffery will perform after suffering multiple injuries last season, and Bennett is concussion-prone, having suffered one last season and again this offseason. Throw in the fact that there are rumors around the league Bennett is being shopped on the Bears’ trading block, and you could potentially have a big mess in the Windy City.
The timing of that report is troubling, even if the Bears are only shopping him to see what they could get in return and not really taking it seriously. If they are serious about trading the receiver, it could send waves throughout the locker room.
For the Bears to have a successful, drama-free season, they need to perform on the field. If they do that, all of these rumors will go quietly into the night.