RENTON -- The Seattle Seahawks haven't had a productive wide receiver with size since Sidney Rice and Mike Williams exited the organization after the 2013 and 2011 seasons, respectively.
Neither Rice or Williams had the pedigree Brandon Marshall brings to the Seattle Seahawks.
The 6-foot-5, 232-pound Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowl selection. He has eight seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving and four seasons with at least 10 touchdowns. In 2015, Marshall's 1,502 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns set career highs in both categories while catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick with the New York Jets.
However, Marshall is coming off a year with the New York Giants where he appeared in only five games before an ankle injury ended his season. He also had just three touchdowns in his last full season with the Jets in 2016.
Marshall had been limited at the outset of camp as he continues to work his way back from surgeries to address the ankle injury that ended his season and a toe problem that had bothered him for two seasons. But little by little, Marshall is getting closer to feeling back to his old self.
“It’s either you got something left in the tank or you don’t,” Marshall said after practice on Thursday. “I mean, quarter tank, whatever. If you don’t got a full tank then you can’t play this game so I’m working my tail off to get 100 percent healthy and get out there and contribute in a major way. I’m not here to just be a guy. I’m here to be the beast that I’ve always been. I’m confident I’ll be able to do that in the next couple weeks.”
The question is whether Marshall can recapture his previous form or if he becomes the Terrell Owens experiment version 2.0.
Marshall said he’s been to Germany, London, Switzerland, Arizona and New York this season seeking treatments to get healthy for the upcoming year. He specifically cited the Regenokine procedure seven Seahawks players had last year during training camp to treat various ailments.
"I've been doing Regenokine for five (or) six years with Dr. (Edward H.) Kaplan in New York. Dr. Kaplan’s my guy. A lot of what I do is preventative stuff but this year I actually needed it so they got me right," Marshall said.
Marshall caught his first touchdown of camp on a back-shoulder throw from Russell Wilson in red zone drills on Thursday. Marshall was matched up against rookie Tre Flowers and adjusted nicely to the ball thrown deliberately behind him along the sideline.
"He’s coming back to almost normal workload," head coach Pete Carroll said. "Not quite yet, but he’s easing back in. When he’s out there, he’s really made something happen."
Marshall added another touchdown during red zone drills on Friday and is beginning to feel a bit more like his old self.
“Rehabbing can be a really challenging situation and this was one of the toughest things I’ve ever been through as an athlete,” Marshall said. “One, you got the ‘I’m aging’ part out there, and you got the self-doubt and self-talk creeping in. Then, production slips. You get cut. There’s so much negative stuff happening while you’re laying on the table trying to be able to walk again. So, yes, it’s very difficult and the only thing that gets you over that hump is actually doing it and making those plays that you made in the past.
“Just being able to go out there and feel the grass the way I felt it before (the injury), my feet under me was special. Catching the ball, that’s special. Being able to have a defender in front of you, that’s special. I almost had tears in my eyes today being able to go in the huddle and break the huddle, just because of all the work that I’ve put in. I’ve been across the world trying to get healthy. … I’ve been all over the damn place trying to get my damn feet right. Definitely ecstatic about feeling somewhat like myself today.”
As Doug Baldwin continues to sit out due to a lingering knee injury, Marshall could become a vital piece of Seattle's offense. Carroll said that he has no doubts about Baldwin's availability for the start of the regular season.
For Marshall, it's just a matter of getting back to full strength.
"I need more strength," he said. "I haven’t played ball in months so I’ve just got to get out there and get more reps. That’s all. More practice, that’s what I need.”
Photo Credit: Seahawks wide receiver Brandon Marshall speaks with reporters after practice on Thursday, August 2, 2018. Marshall had his most extensive work of training camp and caught a touchdown pass in red zone drills. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)