ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The only thing Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall is practicing right now is showing plenty of patience as he awaits both a big payday and medical clearance to return to the field.
After having screws removed from his right foot following the Super Bowl, Marshall underwent surgery on his right index finger, which he dislocated while poking the ball from Jamaal Charles' grasp during Denver's last-minute comeback win at Kansas City last September.
That thriller set the tone for the Broncos' super season. But Marshall kept dislocating the purple and puffy finger and by the time he held up the Lombardi Trophy in the cool California breeze three months ago, he knew surgery was necessary.
Next week he'll have a follow-up with hand specialist Dr. Randy Viola, the same surgeon who recently repaired quarterback Mark Sanchez's injured left thumb.
Marshall demonstrated how he still lacks full range of motion in the forefinger but said he's hoping to get back on the field soon. Meanwhile, he said his right foot feels fine after surgeons removed 1½ screws that had been in there for a year.
They left half a screw behind because taking that piece out would have meant a three-month recovery and Marshall said he can't feel the hardware anyway and is finally pain free.
Once his finger is healed, Marshall will rejoin the rest of his teammates on the field for what's left of OTAs — all except for Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, who is skipping the Broncos' offseason program in a salary stalemate.
Miller received the team's exclusive franchise tag. Although Marshall received a second-round tender, he didn't sign it. Instead, he signed an injury waiver so he could participate in the offseason program.
General manager John Elway is on record saying he plans to pursue a long-term contract extension with Marshall and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders once Miller's deal gets done.
"I think that's great," Marshall said Thursday. "I love it here, man. Since I first got here in 2013, they treated me like family even when I was on the practice squad. It means a lot. He's recognizes my play and he thinks I'm worth being taken care of. So, I definitely appreciate that."
Marshall is showing good faith by not holding out even though he's unable to take the field.
"I'm really all about ball and getting better and being with the team," he said. "When I look back at it, I'm like, that's not me anyway, to stay away. That's just not me."
Marshall is expected to slide over to his old spot at weak-side inside linebacker, replacing Danny Trevathan, who signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent this offseason, with Todd Davis or Corey Nelson replacing him on the strong side. Marshall played in this spot in 2014, when he led the team in tackles.
When Trevathan signed a four-year, $24.5 million deal following Malik Jackson's six-year, $90 million deal with Jacksonville, Marshall tweeted that everybody was getting paid this offseason except him.
He said that was just in jest.
"I was just reading everything on Twitter. Danny, Malik, C.J. (Anderson, who got a four-year, $18 million deal). I just tweeted. I've never been frustrated," Marshall said. "That's not even me as far as not being happy. You know what I'm saying. It's just something I tweeted and I mess around a lot of Twitter."
Like when he grew tired of Broncos fans fretting over all the free agent defections led by Brock Osweiler bolting to Houston and reminded everybody in a colorful way that the Broncos are the reigning champs.
"They need to realize we won the Bowl," Marshall said. "We won it. Nobody can ever take that away from us."
Marshall subscribes to the notion that it's easier for players to improve their game once they've been fitted for a Super Bowl ring, that one championship can beget another.
"If you look at the last few years it was almost like a boom or bust, it was extra pressure. I'm sure Peyton (Manning) felt it more than anybody," Marshall said. "It was almost like, 'OK, we've got to win it. They put together this team, if we don't win it, we're going to look like fools.' Now that we did it, we've been there, we have that championship mentality, we understand everything that we have to do and I think it's going to make us that much better."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL