Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall was found not guilty in a Georgia court Friday of misdemeanor battery charges against his former girlfriend, and I had a chance to catch up with him very briefly tonight. Marshall has had numerous run-ins with the law, including a DUI arrest, and expressed his gratitude that a jury absolved him of any wrongdoing in this case.
“I’m thankful that this day has come and gone and the truth has came out and we finally got a chance to provide our side,” Marshall said via telephone. “For the past year-and-a-half, no one could imagine the emotions that I have experienced, and not only has my career been jeopardized, but also my reputation. And today is a day that is a new beginning for me, my family and [my] friends to move forward and put this behind us.”
Marshall, an All-Pro talent and one of the best young receivers in the game, has earned a reputation for causing problems off the field. He asked for a trade in the offseason but reported to the Broncos for the start of training camp. While he would like a new contract — there is a year remaining on his rookie deal — his run-ins with the league office and law enforcement have hurt his trade value and curtailed his chances of getting a new deal.
The NFL may have taken action against Marshall for violating it’s conduct policy pending the outcome of this case. He was suspended for one game last season following a string of domestic disputes. Marshall’s lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, thanked Commissioner Roger Goodell for waiting for this case to conclude before taking any further disciplinary action.
“It’s a completely clean slate for Brandon,” Steinberg said. “This puts all issues with (his ex-girlfriend), and the NFL, to rest.”
Given his past troubles, and Goodell’s consistency in handing out stern punishment to repeat offenders, Marshall will have to stay on a straight path. Marshall is also dealing with a lingering hip injury, which flared up again early in camp. He has practiced very sparingly, and neither the team nor Marshall has offered a firm timetable for his return (the Broncos play San Francisco in their preseason opener tonight).
“I’ll be out there practicing as soon as I’m able to,” Marshall said when asked when he might return to the field.
Marshall said he plans to express his feelings about the case in detail on his website — http://www.bmarshall15.com — while his agent, Kennard McGuire, expressed his joy at Friday’s outcome.
“I am humbled and grateful,” McGuire said. “I truly believe in the intervention of a higher being.”