Dolphins land go-to guy in WR Brandon Marshall

Dolphins land go-to guy in WR Brandon Marshall

Published April 15, 2010

MIAMI – Shortly after arriving in South Florida, Brandon Marshall sat courtside at a Miami Heat game wearing a Florida Marlins cap.

Two teams have a new fan. The Miami Dolphins have a new receiver.

The Bill Parcells regime acquired the high-maintenance Pro Bowl wideout Wednesday from the Denver Broncos for a second-round draft pick in next week's draft and another in 2011. He's expected to soon sign the long-term contract he has been seeking for more than a year.

"It's good to be here, man," Marshall said as he mingled with fans at the Heat's game against New Jersey.

Marshall fills the Dolphins' most glaring need: a go-to guy who will loosen up defenses for their potentially potent ground game and young, strong-armed quarterback Chad Henne.

However, the former Central Florida star returns to the Sunshine State with plenty of issues. While he caught at least 100 passes each of the past three years and made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons, the Broncos were willing to part with Marshall because he became a chronic headache.

He has a history of domestic violence, clashed with coach Josh McDaniels and was summoned to the office of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

That didn't dissuade Parcells, who had mixed results working with headline-making receivers Terry Glenn in New England, Keyshawn Johnson in New York and Terrell Owens in Dallas. Marshall upgrades a receiving corps that totaled two touchdown passes of 20 yards or more last season, fewest in the NFL.

Speedy Ted Ginn Jr. has been a disappointment since Miami took him with the ninth overall draft pick in 2007. Ginn and the other wideouts — Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo — combined for only six touchdown catches last season while averaging just 11.7 yards per catch.

"We need big playmakers," general manager Jeff Ireland said in February. "We need players that make chunk yardage. We need players that score touchdowns. We need to get more production out of the wide receiver position."

Marshall provides production. Last year he caught 101 passes, including an NFL-record 21 in a loss at Indianapolis, for 1,120 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns.

At the Heat game, Marshall declined interview requests. A television crew ran up to Marshall during the first timeout after he and two acquaintances sat down across the court from the Heat bench, and a security guard was stationed nearby to keep other potential questioners away.

New Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was with Denver last season, is sure to have played a role in Miami's decision to make the trade. It frees up the Dolphins to use the No. 12 pick in the draft on the defensive front seven, where help is also sorely needed.

The Broncos, who pick 11th in the first round, have needs at linebacker and elsewhere, and they'll now likely address receiver in the draft, too. Marshall's departure leaves Jabar Gaffney, who had two touchdown catches last season, as Denver's top receiver.

McDaniels suggested the trade gave both Marshall and the Broncos a fresh start.

"I'm pleased with how the whole thing went down. I'm happy and excited for Brandon to have an opportunity to do something that he's wanted to do," McDaniels said. "And I'm also excited about the opportunities that we're going to be presented here in the coming week with the draft and continuing to build our team and our roster the way that we want to do it."

The Dolphins declined to comment, but several players tweeted their approval.

"Exciting about the direction we are taking can only get better!!!" tweeted cornerback Vontae Davis, who will be covering Marshall in practice.

The deal also earned three exclamation marks from cornerback Sean Smith.

"We got B Marsh, thass my dude!!!" Smith tweeted.

Marshall is the biggest trade acquisition by the Dolphins since running back Ricky Williams came to Miami in 2002 for four draft picks, including two first-rounders.

For the Broncos, the blockbuster trade was the second in as many offseasons under McDaniels. Denver sent quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago last April for Kyle Orton and draft picks.


AP Sports Writers Tim Reynolds in Miami and Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.

Written by STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer


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