Seattle Seahawks

Salute to Brandon Marshall for turning around his life. His career didn’t do same with Seahawks

A salute to Brandon Marshall for turning around his life.

His career did not do the same with the Seahawks.

Seattle released the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver on Tuesday.

It was the Seahawks’ only move for the 53-man active roster on the day. As expected, they did not make a trade before the NFL’s deadline to do so Tuesday afternoon.

No need to change what’s working on a team that’s won four of its last five games. Plus, the Seahawks’ biggest need, experienced depth in the pass rush, is one of the league’s most expensive commodities to acquire.

Marshall dropped four passes in consecutive games at the end of last month. The 34-year-old’s barely played since.

What happened to Marshall?

David Moore happened to Marshall.

Moore, the Seahawks’ seventh-round draft choice in 2017 out of tiny East Central University in Oklahoma, has emerged as the physical receiver to rip balls from defenders that Marshall was trying to reassert himself as in the NFL with Seattle.

Moore has 11 receptions and four touchdown in the last four games, coinciding with Marshall’s dropped passes then benching. Those are the first catches and touchdowns of Moore’s career.

While Moore was athletically tipping another touchdown pass to himself during last weekend’s win at Detroit, Marshall was on the other half of the field. He standing on the sidelines with backup quarterback Brett Hundley, idling about 45 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He seemed farther from Seattle’s offense than that. Marshall played just two of the Seahawks’ 63 snaps against the Lions.

Marshall had emerged in August as a potential big-play target for Russell Wilson to dominate smaller defensive backs in the red zone. He and his new quarterback spent many hours during and after practices in training camp working on back-shoulder and fade-route throws along the sideline. Wilson and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer marveled at Marshall’s intellect and initiative in suggesting plays and schemes for the offense.

Fifth-round draft choice Tre Flowers, a safety in college, credited Marshall for advice and on-field testing each day in practice that accelerated the rookie’s learning of cornerback.

Marshall did such a job teaching, Flowers is Seattle’s starting right cornerback on a defense that has created the NFL’s second-best turnover margin after seven games, plus-10.

But after a solid start during which Marshall had nine catches for 120 yards in three games and praised Wilson as “special” Marshall had just two catches over the last month. His short Seahawks, and maybe long NFL, career ends with him having 11 receptions for 136 yards with one touchdown.

That score came in the opening game, against his former Denver Broncos. Marshall had a second touchdown catch that day called back by what he said was one of the few offensive pass-interference penalties he’s had in his 13-year career.

For one week, it seemed like he was back.

Then he dropped three passes, all on third down, early in the Seahawks’ home-opening win over Dallas. He dropped another ball early in the following week’s victory at Arizona. Moore emerged as Marshall faded, and that was basically that for Marshall in Seattle.

Marshall signed a one-year contract in May worth the veteran minimum of $1,015,000. The Seahawks will pay that through the end of the season because as a vested veteran his pay became guaranteed when he was on the roster for week one. He had the chance to double his money this season in performance bonuses. He was nowhere near achieving those.

Then there’s the cold reality of NFL business: Moore, 23, is 11 years younger. His salary is half of Marshall’s this season, $550,000. He is under contract for two more years at bargain rates below $1 million.

When Marshall arrived with the Seahawks this spring he stood tall. Taller, even, than his listed 6 feet, 5 inches. He talked openly of how mental-health treatment and counseling changed his life.

He spoke of the “honor” of having “champions” as new teammates in Seattle. He talked of his chance following two surgeries since October, to prove the rest of the NFL is wrong is thinking he is finished as a player, after the New York Giants gave up on Marshall in April during his recoveries from toe and ankle surgeries.

But nothing Marshall said or did made him seem larger, meant more to him—and, he hopes, can potentially mean more to others—than his response when I asked him why he has chosen to take on society’s stigma over mental health. He’s done that though revealing interviews, essays and his nonprofit organization, Project 375.

“That’s easy,” Marshall said.

Then he told a story that is hard.

The veteran of 178 regular-season games for six NFL teams, of six 100-catch seasons, was diagnosed in 2011 with borderline personality disorder. That illness is known for causing impulsive behavior, wild mood swings and problems in relationships.

Marshall has had his share of headline-grabbing incidents not related to football.

* In 2016, ESPN reported Marshall and Sheldon Richardson, then two of the Jets’ biggest stars, had a loud “verbal altercation” in New York’s locker room following a game.

* In 2014 while playing for the Chicago Bears, he defended himself against allegations surrounding his arrests on suspicion of domestic abuse and misdemeanor battery back in 2007 and ‘08.

* In 2009, his Denver Broncos suspended him during the preseason for insubordination. That was weeks after he was acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge in Atlanta. Prosecutors there had accused him of beating his then-girlfriend.

* In 2008, the league suspended him for three games for his domestic-violence issues. An appeal dropped the suspension to one game.

“We talked about my past, and you see it from afar, you can say, ‘Man, that’s a troubled guy. What’s going on?’” Marshall said in late May. “Sometimes when you approach things with curiosity you can see that there’s something else there. You can go a little deeper and say, ‘Wow, that guy needs help.’”

Seven years ago, after a then-record $47.5 million contract from the Dolphins and his flame out in Miami, he got help. Marshall parked himself inside McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., for months. The NFL star sat down with people from all walks of life for group mental-health therapy in Boston’s western suburbs. He got individual therapy there, plus an array of cognitive and emotional tests.

Marshall wasn’t just helped. He was wowed.

“I was so in awe when I was at McLean Hospital,” he said. “I spent three months in an outpatient program there. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I was in DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy.”

DBT is a cognitive behavioral treatment emphasizing mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. The therapy was developed by University of Washington PhD Marsha Linehan.

Marshall admiringly calls her “the great Marsha Linehan that’s out here in Seattle, a prominent figure in our community. ... Saved so many lives.”

Including his, Marshall believes.

“I was in cognitive behavioral therapy. I was in mentalization. I was in self-assessment,” Marshall said. “I had a neurological assessment to look at my brain, to see if I was capable of change. I did a clinical evaluation, to see what was going on in my life and if I had a diagnosis.”

He did. And through it, the Pittsburgh native and athlete with fame and money got something priceless in 2011: a new life.

He and his wife Michi are raising 3-year-old twins. They met while they both were attending the University of Central Florida in the mid-2000s. His wife is the daughter of a clinical psychologist, and Michi Marshall earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice plus three certificates from UCF.

“The reason why it was so amazing to me and I knew I had to do something was because within a month and a half, things I was struggling with for years I felt 100 times better,” he said. “I couldn’t believe there were treatments out there and doctors out there that could make that big of a difference that quickly.”

Though his career didn’t revive with the Seahawks as he and the team had hoped, Marshall is in a better place than he’s ever been.


Official NFL transactions for Tuesday showed the Seahawks signed second-year tight end Tyrone Swoopes back onto their practice squad.

The team waived Swoopes Saturday in time to make room on the active roster for starting tight end Ed Dickson’s debut Sunday at Detroit.

Swoopes had his first career catch and first NFL start in Seattle’s previous game, Oct. 14 at London. The team signed him off its practice squad the day before that game.

The Seahawks signed the former University of Texas quarterback as an undrafted rookie free agent in the spring of 2017.