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Brandon Marshall: Trade to Bears was 'career-saving'


Brandon Marshall's early journey through the NFL pitched and rolled like a tumbling boat fighting a storm. And the receiver's off-field issues began to drown his on-field potential.

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After four seasons -- with three straight 1,000-yard campaigns -- the Denver Broncos traded the dynamic pass-catcher to the Miami Dolphins. He lasted just two seasons in Miami. Again, personal issues clouded how productive he was on the field.

Then came what Marshall described Thursday as the seminal moment of his career: a trade to the Chicago Bears.

"The transformation started in my life before I was traded (to Chicago)," Marshall said at a news conference Thursday regarding his three-year, $30 million contract extension. "I think it was career-saving. I don't think I'd be sitting in this position, talking about an extension. I probably wouldn't be having the success that I've had on the field (if I were still in Miami). It wasn't right for me."

The Dolphins traded Marshall to the Bears in 2011 in exchange for two third-round draft picks.

"It was life-saving and career-saving," Marshall said of the trade.

Marshall's career has continued to thrive in Chicago, and he has found his place off the field as well. The 30-year-old has become one of the staunchest supporters of mental health awareness, pledging to donate $1 million of his new extension to the cause.

Now a mentor to young Pro Bowl receiver Alshon Jeffery, Marshall said the 2013 season was the most unique of his career.

"I'm (usually) the guy that gets 170 balls a year," he said. "Now, coach (Marc) Trestman comes in moving us all around and spreading the ball around, it's like, man, this is going to be different. But I think we all grew as men last year because of it. ... Last year was the first year I wasn't selfish."

Given Jeffery's ascendance, Marshall might become even more unselfish.

The receiver spent eight seasons battling the waves. Now, viewing the twilight of his career from a more serene, stable setting, Marshall seems just fine with his role.

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