Brandon Marshall is content to let his actions -- and others -- do the talking for him.
A day after the Denver Broncos' talented but troubled star was suspended for three games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league's personal conduct code, Marshall sidestepped several questions about the matter, including whether he felt he needed counseling, which the league suggested.
Marshall also left his coach and quarterback to vouch for his character.
"Brandon is not a bad guy, at all," quarterback Jay Cutler insisted. "He's a good guy, he means well. It's just he's been in some sticky situations, some things he probably shouldn't get into. ... I think it definitely hit home with this. I don't expect Brandon to be in any more situations like that for the rest of his career and probably for the rest of his life."
Marshall was arrested three times in a yearlong span beginning in March 2007. He's due in court next month for a drunken driving trial and has had two domestic disputes, one of which has been dismissed and another that has yet to produce a formal charge.
The league doesn't require convictions for the commissioner to suspend a player.
It was a March 6 arrest on a domestic violence warrant filed by his former girlfriend in Atlanta that led Goodell to summon Marshall to his New York offices last month to explain his series of misdeeds.
Marshall seems to have learned his lesson, coach Mike Shanahan said.
"I just see him growing day by day, and he understands what it means to be a leader as an athlete, to be a leader in the community, help kids. He wants to do those type of things. He's a guy that's got a big upside not only on the field but off the field," Shanahan said.
"And he's a natural leader, but he's got to show people in the community that this isn't talk."
Talk isn't something Marshall wanted to do much of Wednesday, a day after Goodell handed down the three-game suspension. The penalty could be pared to two if Marshall undergoes counseling and meets other conditions, which the league didn't specify.
Marshall's lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, who successfully fought the NFL last year over Travis Henry's positive marijuana test, said Marshall didn't deserve to be suspended and that he will appeal the punishment.
Marshall declined to say if he felt the penalty was heavy-handed or unwarranted.
"You know what, it doesn't matter," he said. "It's in the past and all I can do is worry about now. I can't worry about yesterday."
Marshall demurred when asked if he felt it would be best for him and the team to serve the suspension rather than appeal and drag this out into the season, allowing it to hang over the team like Henry's case did last year.
And Marshall declined to say whether he feels he needs counseling.
"I'm just going to do everything I'm supposed to do, whether it's off the field or on the field, and get past this," he said.
At his retirement news conference last month, former receiver Rod Smith said he's serving as Marshall's mentor and that his protege had made several positive changes in his life.
Marshall didn't want to talk much about those changes, either.
"It's just being the best player I can be in the community and on the field. That's all it is. It's not hard. You know, it's not rocket science," Marshall said. "And like I said, I have a job to do and I plan on getting it done."
Marshall emerged as the Broncos' top offensive threat in 2007 when he caught 102 passes for 1,325 yards in his second NFL season.
If his suspension is upheld, Marshall will miss games against AFC West rivals Oakland and San Diego, and possibly one against New Orleans. Based on his $445,000 salary, Marshall would forfeit $52,352 for two games or $78,529 for three.
"Any time you lose a guy like Brandon for a couple of games it's going to hurt," Cutler said. "Because he does stuff on the football field that not many people can do. He opens up some big windows for me. He's an easy target."
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