Bears GM: Too soon to say if Marshall to be suspended
CHICAGO (AP) -- Bears general manager Phil Emery said it's too soon to say if recently acquired Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall will be suspended because of an allegation that he struck a woman at a New York City nightclub.
"We're getting a little far ahead of the process," he said during a conference call Thursday. "It is a process. The league has contacted us. We're in contact with the league. We are working through this process with them, along with ourselves and doing our own work. I think that's just getting a little far ahead of the process. We will monitor the process and follow it through its conclusion."
Coach Lovie Smith said the Bears "went through all the necessary channels" and seemed confident that any potential punishment won't be too severe.
"We feel good," he said. "We can't wait to introduce Brandon to the Chicago Bears fans."
Marshall is scheduled to appear at a news conference at the team's headquarters Friday.
The Bears acquired Marshall from Miami for two third-round draft picks Tuesday, giving them the No. 1 receiver they'd been lacking, but news of the nightclub incident surfaced hours later.
New York City police say a woman filed a complaint alleging Marshall punched her in the face at a nightclub over the weekend. Marshall has not been charged in the incident, which the woman says occurred at 3:50 a.m. Sunday outside the Marquee in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
Emery said he had "a good conversation" about the incident with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland before the trade. He also said the Bears "had evaluated Brandon thoroughly before that."
Asked if the Bears spoke to police, bouncers at the nightclub or the league before making the deal, Emery said, "Again, we've done our work. We've done our research. We'll monitor and follow this thing through its conclusion."
As for why the Bears felt they needed to make the trade on that particular day, Emery cited the flurry of moves surrounding the start of free agency and the salary-cap ramifications. They believed they needed to act quickly. And they believed Marshall was the best fit skill-wise, even though there was a strong group of free-agent receivers.
"Because that is so fluid, that players are being signed so fast, you have to make some decisions," Emery said. "We felt this was a good decision for us moving forward."
The Marshall trade was the first major move by Emery after replacing fired general manager Jerry Angelo, and it filled the Bears' biggest hole, giving them a go-to receiver for quarterback Jay Cutler. That's something they'd been lacking since acquiring him in a trade with the Broncos, and it reunited him with one of his favorite targets in Denver.
Marshall made the Pro Bowl for the third time last year with 81 catches for 1,214 yards and six scores. But he has a long history of off-the-field problems.
The list includes a fight in 2007 in Denver that led to the drive-by slaying of the Broncos' Darrent Williams. Last year, Marshall's wife was arrested after he was stabbed in the abdomen during a domestic dispute. Charges were later dropped.
In July, Marshall disclosed he was diagnosed earlier in the year with borderline personality disorder, which stems from such things as a negative self-image and a fear of failure. Then, at midseason, he said efforts to keep his emotions on an even keel have hurt his play, and before a Monday night game he claimed his goal was to get ejected before halftime.
Despite Marshall's history, Emery insisted ownership was "very supportive" of the trade and that the final decision was his. He even went out of his way to praise Marshall for being open about his condition, saying it "tells me a lot about his courage and the type of person he is."
The Bears are taking a risk, though.
"We feel comfortable with (Marshall) being here right now," Smith said. "I don't know what else I can tell you. Phil wasn't here last year; I was here. I know what happened with Sam. We did our research then. We did it now, and I'm hoping the results will be a whole lot better."
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