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Brandon Marshall remembers Mike Heimerdinger

Mike Heimerdinger

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2010, file photo, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger looks on during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, in Houston. Heimerdinger is a private man who prefers to work hard and let everyone think he’s a cranky old coach. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)


Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who recently said that in all of his years in the NFL he never had a good position coach, is clearly not an easy player for a coach to please. So it says something about the late Mike Heimerdinger that Marshall would travel to an event in Heimerdinger’s memory, and would gush about what Heimerdinger meant to his career.

Heimerdinger was the assistant head coach of the Broncos during Marshall’s first two seasons in Denver, and at Friday’s Drive for Dinger Celebrity Golf Tournament in Tennessee, Marshall said that Heimerdinger gave him some of the best one-on-one instruction he’s ever had.

When I first got in the league, I couldn’t catch the deep ball,” Marshall told the Tennessean. “I would always come up short, and I used to run with my hips open. So, after practice, he used to pull me to the side, take me to his room, and he would just toss balls over my head, showing me how to approach the deep ball. He added an element to my game that is pretty tough to stop now.”

Marshall said that when he and Heimerdinger didn’t see eye to eye, it was because Heimerdinger insisted on pushing Marshall to get the most out of him he possibly could.

“That first year, he was on me,” Marshall said. “He treated me like a rookie, but it was for my best interest. He has a talent for pushing people to the limit, but keeping that respect there, getting the most out of people and also showing them love at the same time.”

Heimerdinger, who died of cancer in September at age 58, was remembered by former players and coaches on Friday as a good coach and a good man. He clearly had an effect on Marshall, who doesn’t praise many coaches but does praise Heimerdinger.