It wasnt what Brandon Marshall said to Phil Emery that convinced the Bears general manager Marshall was worth investing two draft choices, a large measure of Emerys own professional stock and the image of a charter franchise in the NFL.
It was what Emery heard and saw Marshall say about himself and his battle, now ongoing, with borderline personality disorder. Marshall has been involved in a string of untoward events involving degrees of violence, the most recent just days before the trade that brought him from the Miami Dolphins to the Bears.
I was a ticking time bomb, Marshall said.
Marshall had gone on national television to speak about the condition. There were videos of him on social media. Emery saw something that convinced him that Marshalls was worth the risk.
Probably the one thing that really stood out to me was the courage he displayed to come forward with the problems which he spoke so well Friday about, Emery said.
Marshall, in his first public appearance since both the incident at a New York nightclub Sunday night and the trade Tuesday to the Bears, was sometimes blunt, sometimes emotional, sometimes seeming almost worried as he spoke of the treatment and therapy he has been undergoing in an attempt to break the grip of a problem Marshall himself has only recently come to grips with.
My No. 1 goal this year, before the trade, was to be mentioned for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, Marshall said. And how ironic to get traded to the Chicago Bears. Going back the past six years and seeing how things have played out in my life and how devastating things have been, the turmoil, on and off the field, really hit home with me.
Now Im in a position where Im healthy, and I want to be one of the faces and one of the pioneers for breaking the stigma on mental illness and borderline personality disorder.
Pointing a thumb, not a finger
Appearances and utterances can be deceiving; there have been seemingly sincere frauds in the Chicago and every other NFL locker room. But Marshall expressly cited only one cause for his problems: himself.
Things and places have never been a problem, Marshall said. Its been me.
With that attitude, Emery and the Bears were sufficiently satisfied that a troubled 27-year-old was going in the right direction. Additionally, Marshall is unequivocal about him remaining a risk another indication that Marshall does not see himself healed and able to stop addressing the problem.
He understands that he still is a risk, for himself, family and the Bears.
Absolutely, Marshall said. From perception, yes. And from the things I've been through, yes. From the reality of it, yes. Absolutely.
I mean He paused. But the thing about it is one thing I've learned about Phil Emery so far is that he is a guy of details. He's definitely done his due diligence. he understands me, the person. He understands me, the player.
He and the Bears certainly hope so.