LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall utilized the power of persuasion with the team’s medical staff to keep suiting up, he said Thursday, despite recommendations he sit out four weeks after spraining his right ankle during the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
After catching 13 passes for 119 yards and four touchdowns in the first two games, Marshall hauled in just six passes for 69 yards and one touchdown in the club’s last three contests.
“I would assume you guys know what type of player I am, and the type of toughness I bring,” Marshall said. “I wasn’t supposed to play. That was an injury [where I] was supposed to be out four weeks. I thought you knew that.”
Marshall initially suffered the ankle injury in the second half of Chicago’s season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills. Marshall left the game on multiple occasions to have the team’s athletic trainers re-wrap the injured ankle, but continued to play.
Then, with Marshall officially listed as questionable and the Bears facing the San Francisco 49ers the next week on the road, the team decided just 90 minutes prior to kickoff to allow the receiver to participate.
“The first two weeks, the doctors ruled me out,” Marshall said. “They said I wasn’t going to play. I went to them and said, ‘Just make it a game-time decision.’ I thought with some adrenaline I’d be able to go. I was able to help the team out, pull some coverage and give Martellus [Bennett] and Alshon [Jeffery] one-on-one matchups, get Matt Forte some seven-man boxes.”
Marshall also caught three touchdown passes along the way in helping the Bears defeat the 49ers 28-20.
Marshall finally regained full health going into last Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, he said.
“Last week was the first week we really got a chance to get me involved in the game plan,” Marshall said.
But the receiver finished with just three catches for 44 yards, prompting Bears coach Marc Trestman to acknowledge the Bears need to target him more in the passing game.
Marshall played despite the injury, he said, because “I just can’t sit on the sideline and watch the guys have fun and battle together. It’s just not in my blood.”
Trestman declined to delve in specifics regarding Marshall’s claim that he shouldn’t have played.
“I can talk directly about what I’ve seen in Brandon recently because that’s his point of view, and I certainly wouldn’t disagree with that,” Trestman said. “What I’ve seen over the last 10 days is him practicing at full strength, working extremely hard on his route running, his communication with [quarterback] Jay [Cutler]. All I can tell you from my standpoint with Brandon is he did everything he could to get ready and get himself back. There was no doubt there. He looks to be at full strength, gotten his speed back, and is practicing very well, and from start to finish is practicing very hard.”
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer expects that to translate into success for not just Marshall, but the entire offense, and said “I believe that the Chicago Bears offense is coming back.”
The Bears finished last season ranked No. 2 in the NFL in scoring but has sense sputtered, putting up just three points in the second half of the last two games. Perhaps Marshall regaining full health changes the team’s fortunes on offense.
Trestman and Cutler both spoke this week as if the game plan going into Sunday is to make a concerted effort to feed Marshall the ball.
“He wants the ball just like everyone else in that locker room,” Cutler said. “We understand that. Coach Trestman does a great job of trying to get guys balls, and B knows as well as I know we’re dialing up plays for him. It’s just not rolling his way. It won’t last forever.”