RENTON, Wash. -- When Brandon Marshall visited the Seattle Seahawks as a restricted free agent in 2010, the team flew him into its lakefront headquarters via a seaplane. It was a pull-out-all-the-stops move by Pete Carroll, who, in his first season in Seattle following nine at USC, was tapping into his recruiting background to try to woo one of the best available receivers.
The Seahawks didn't need a seaplane to land Marshall eight years later. At 34 years old and coming off a pair of surgeries, he feels grateful to have another shot. He's getting it in Seattle after signing a one-year deal that was agreed to on Tuesday.
"I didn't have a ton of options," Marshall said Wednesday following the Seahawks' fifth organized team activity. "I think the sentiment around the league is that I'm done, and I get it. Rightfully so. When you get on the other side of 30 and your production slips and you have a big injury, people just count you out. So it was an interesting process. It was a humbling process, to say the least. There were some really tough days that I had to push through, mentally and physically, so for this to be an opportunity and come to [fruition], you can't ask for a better situation. You've got probably a top-three quarterback, you've got one the best franchises, you've got a young nucleus, guys that are hungry and ready to compete."
Marshall took part in Wednesday's practice, sporting the No. 15 that he has worn for most of his NFL career. He caught some passes from Russell Wilson and Seattle's other quarterbacks during positional periods, but he didn't take part in any of the 11-on-11 drills.
"We just had to just ease him in today," Carroll said. "Just get him started, get him on the field with us and Friday we'll do a little bit more, just keep growing with it."
Marshall's contract can be worth up to $2 million with incentives, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That may seem like a pittance for someone who's been one of the most productive receivers of his era. Marshall has topped 1,000 yards in eight of his 12 seasons, most recently in 2015 with the New York Jets, and his six seasons with at least 100 catches are the most in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
But that price is reflective of his age and health. His 2017 season ended after five games because of an ankle injury that he had surgically repaired, leading the New York Giants to release him in April with a failed-physical designation. Marshall revealed Wednesday that he also had surgery to fix a toe injury that had been bothering him since midway through the 2015 season, saying he had previously intended to put it off until he retired because it came with such a long rehab but that the ankle injury gave him that time.
Marshall said he was first able to run without pain again a few days after the Giants released him in April. His recovery from the toe surgery, he said, has taken the longest.
"I feel good. I don't feel great," he said. "Obviously, I've got a lot of catching up to do and get into some football shape. Since the end of October, I was working with Coach [Aaron] Wellman, our head strength and conditioning coach with the Giants, and we'd been doing a lot of rehab, fixing things. So now the last couple weeks, I've finally got an opportunity to go into training, getting better at catching the ball, getting better at route-running, getting better at decelerating and all those little things that make you a great wide receiver.
"So I'm excited about the process. I'm not where I want to be, not even close, but my goal is to be in midseason form come camp."
The Seahawks are Marshall's sixth team. In addition to his 2010 visit as an RFA with the Denver Broncos, Marshall said the Seahawks had interest in him in 2015 following his three seasons with the Chicago Bears and last year after his two-year run with the Jets ended.
Alluding to a past that includes several run-ins with the law, an NFL and a team suspension as well as a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, Marshall said the screening the Seahawks put him through during his latest visit earlier this month was more intense than the TSA line.
"They did their due diligence, to say the least, and they really broke down everything since I've been in the league, and we had some great conversations, some transparent conversations and some challenging conversations," he said. "I had to answer some tough questions. But I think the biggest thing that they wanted to see was me run around. At this point [in their careers], a lot of guys would say, 'I'm 34 and I'm established. Why do I have to work out?' So I think my workout was good. It wasn't great because of where it was in my rehab process, but I was proud of it. Just two weeks before that workout, three weeks before that workout was the first time I was able to even get on the field and run full routes pain-free."
Marshall felt so good about his workout that he bought some Seahawks apparel at the airport on his way home. That included the bright green T-shirt he was wearing in the picture he posted to Instagram to announce his deal with the Seahawks.
As for that seaplane in 2010?
"That was fresh off the recruiting trails," Carroll said, "so I think we flew him in, flew him into the dock or something silly like that. It was crazy. We never did it again. But we went all out. It didn't work out. So since then ... we've had our eye on him for a long time because of his style of play. Very aggressive, can be the big receiver in the offense and his playmaking has always been something that we've kept an eye on."
Marshall confirmed that he won't resume his analyst duties on Showtime's "Inside the NFL," citing the long travel between Seattle and New Jersey, where the show is taped. But he may take part remotely on occasion.
"At this point in my career, I'm just focused on going out the right way and being a football player," he said. "Those opportunities will be there when I'm done."
Marshall and the Seahawks hope he's not done just yet.
"He's a big receiver, he's a physical guy, he works well in close areas, working off of defenders and all that," Carroll said. "The fact that he's been a go-to guy in his past, there's those kinds of thoughts out there. We'll see what happens. I don't know. We'll see how he fits in. Really, he's like the rest of the guys. He's got to battle for every step of the way, and he knows that. I was very emphatic about how this is going to work out, and he was fired up about it and ready to go."