It’s not rare to hear professional athletes talk about the color green. Often times the green being discussed is money in the form of a new contract, that will likely include a hefty signing bonus.
For Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the only green he cared to speak about on Thursday night was lime green, the color used to promote mental health awareness.
“It was amazing,” Marshall said. “Sometimes you come off as a guy who is trying to build yourself up. I just really hope that people believe that I’m using it as a platform to do well.”
Marshall, who had nine receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-21 win over the Giants, started the buzz earlier in the week by announcing he would be wearing lime green shoes to create greater awareness for an illness he not only is an advocate for, but lives with.
“For so long, I was irresponsible with it, but tonight, man, really bringing an awareness to an issue that affects all of us, it was amazing,” Marshall, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011, said. “It affected me and it affected my family, but, it also affects one in every four of us in here, so I was excited about the opportunity.”
[PHOTOS: See Marshall in his lime green shoes]
Despite reports that the NFL would prevent Marshall from taking the field with the green cleats on, the league ruled that Marshall would be allowed to play and support his cause, but would be fined like any other uniform violation.
“Unfortunately he’s going to get the fine, but he knew that,” Bears offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “At the end of the day, he’s making a contribution to the charity of his choice and I applaud him for that.”
For Marshall, Thursday night’s two touchdown performance on the field was only his second multi-touchdown game as a member of the Bears and eighth of his career.
“When somebody can bring awareness to something on a national level on national TV like that, you know that’s big for him,” Bushrod said. “Hey man, it got him a couple touchdowns. He can wear them every week if we get the win.”
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While it was evident Marshall raised his level of play under the bright lights, it was the awareness he raised that had countless teammates clamoring in support of a man they respect a great deal following his journey in life.
“It’s great for him to get past all of the obstacles he’s had to overcome to be able to stand on this stage and make a statement,” Bears center Roberto Garza said. “He’s been able to overcome that and stay on the field. He had a great night tonight and the message that he can overcome and bring awareness to mental health.”
Fellow offensive lineman Jordan Mills also respects Marshall’s efforts and believes his positive attitude and caring nature is infectious among the entire team.
“He’s representing a great cause in mental wellness. It’s something he’s been dealing with throughout his life and to see him represent that well and have a good game,” Mills said. He can wear lime green shoes anytime he wants to.”
Second year Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery believes it’s more than just a one night spectacle for Marshall.
“It’s what he stands for,” Jeffery said. “People who go through the same situation as him can look up to him.”