Keyshawn Johnson: 'Diva receiver' a bad rap for Brandon Marshall

Former Jets receiver Keyshawn Johnson doesn't think the diva receiver label is a fit for Brandon Marshall. AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt

Brandon Marshall is the Jets' best big-body wide receiver since Keyshawn Johnson, circa 1999. (Please, don't even start with Braylon Edwards.) Marshall reminds me of Johnson in ways beyond football, a big personality who will continue to thrive in TV once his playing career is over. Like Johnson, Marshall has been the subject of unflattering headlines over his career, fueling the problem-child persona.

Johnson was asked how that will play in New York. He didn't hold back.

"I'm not concerned about that at all because, realistically, to be honest with you, that s--- is overblown," Johnson told me. "It's a myth. They always want to say somebody is high-maintenance or somebody is this or somebody is that because you don't conform to the media's rules. Look, he didn't kill nobody, all right? Let's stop. Enough with the diva receiver B.S. that goes on. I'm so sick and tired of it. Peyton Manning can say what he wants and Tom Brady can blow off the President of the United States and he's OK, though. Just stop it."

Marshall has been a model teammate, and we've already seen what he can do on the field.

"Big body, physical, not afraid, demanding. Strong personality, fits New York well," said Johnson, who could've been describing himself nearly 20 years ago. "As long as they utilize him correctly, they'll get the most out of him and maximize what they have in their investment."

But what about the shaky quarterback situation?

"You might think you have to have this Hall of Fame-type quarterback to be successful and productive, but that's not really true," Johnson said. "You just need somebody who puts the ball in your catch radius. If you can get somebody to put the ball in your catch radius and they're not scared to pull the trigger, you can help the team. ... Just make sure he's not standing out there like he's going fishing all by himself."

Johnson created distractions during his playing days -- who can forget the book? -- but one thing can't be disputed: He was a fierce competitor on the field. If the Jets get the same out of Marshall, they'll be happy.