Brandon Marshall is talented enough to just make headlines with his hands but seems to strongly prefer making them with his mouth.
No stranger to controversy, the former Broncos and current Dolphins receiver is in the news again this week for running his mouth. But this time, it’s not a head coach or teammate he’s angry with — it’s NFL Network analyst Sterling Sharpe.
Sharpe criticized Marshall’s effort late in last week’s game against the Jets, saying he believed the Florida heat caused Marshall to slow down in the game’s final moments. Sharpe prefaced his comments by saying he "loves" Marshall, but then told Marshall he would "have to bring it" in upcoming games.
Rather than accept some light-hearted criticism from a former NFL great, Marshall lashed out at the NFL Network, and at Sharpe in particular.
"I don't honestly think those guys were elite players, including Sterling Sharpe," Marshall said last Thursday. "I've gotta turn on the film and see what he was able to do. I know he's done some good things, but from my understanding, he's not a Hall of Fame guy."
Marshall also provided an excuse, saying he was going "against one of the best corners in the league in [Antonio] Cromartie," and said that none of the analysts knew what they were talking about because they had never coached.
It’s true that Marshall’s reaction was immature and petty, but Sharpe’s comments weren’t terribly accurate. As Dolphins had coach Tony Sparano pointed out, Marshall played "60-something plays" in the game, meaning he sat out few, if any, snaps. He also scored late in the matchup, which would seem to suggest he had plenty of gas in the tank in the game’s final moments.
Marshall is one of the best receivers in the league right now and is widely acknowledged as such. He’s the league’s highest-paid receiver ever and inked a five-year, $50 million contract after forcing his way out of Denver in the offseason. There’s no reason for him to feel slighted or disrespected by anyone.
But instead of taking the high road and ignoring what was a fairly innocuous criticism, Marshall demonstrated his infamous immaturity and insecurity, and looks pretty foolish in doing so.
Sharpe may not be in the Hall of Fame, but his numbers suggest that he was a significantly better receiver than Marshall has been to this point in his career.
Sharpe made five Pro Bowls to Marshall’s two, led the league in catches three times to Marshall’s zero, and won the receiving "Triple Crown" (catches, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns) in 1992, which Marshall has also never done. Sharpe averaged over a yard more per catch during his career than Marshall, and over five yards more per game.
Barring injury, Marshall has plenty of his career left in front of him. But as of 2010, there really is no comparison between him and Sharpe.
For once, it would be nice if Marshall would let his actions speak louder than his words.