The NFL continues to reach unprecedented levels of popularity. But the league hasn’t been without its black eyes. Perhaps the biggest one over the past couple of years is the growing evidence of the harmful effects the game has on the brain, and the deteriorating effects repeated collisions have for players years down the road.
Brandon Marshall got his brain “right” a couple of years ago, when he announced he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While that may not be a byproduct of the career he’s chosen, the newly-re-signed Bears wide receiver’s become an outspoken advocate of mental health research. May is National Mental Health Month and during his contract-signing appearance on “The View” this week, he vowed to immediately donate $1 million to research. His voice on the issue had also been heard long before being fined for wearing neon lime cleats in a prime time game last season to create focus on it.
Marshall’s concern would seem to dovetail perfectly with what the NFL slowly seems to be realizing, admitting and gradually reacting to.
“I think our league is open to change and really looking at this thing the right way,” Marshall told me after Thursday’s contract press conference at Halas Hall. “I would love to assist them, not just as a professional, but as a patient to show them my struggles from a player’s perspective, a 'family member’s’ perspective.”
So Marshall wants to (and apparently will) be just as proactive in sharing his message with Roger Goodell as he was with Jenny McCarthy and Whoopi Goldberg.
“I think we have some great ideas,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Commissioner Goodell. We’re going to set a date where we can sit down and really go over some of these things and speak openly about how we can help our guys and help the NFL.”
Sounds like it’s as natural a fit as Marshall’s turned out to be in his first two seasons with the Bears.
**Portions of my one-on-one interview with Brandon Marshall will air on the 10:30 edition of “SportsNet Central” on Comcast SportsNet this Sunday night**