Brandon Marshall's two worst seasons as a pro came with Miami, right around when he should've continued to assert himself one of the league's elite wide receivers.
So it's no wonder Marshall, who signed a three-year, $30 million extension with the Bears this week, said his 2012 trade from the Dolphins to the Bears was "career-saving."
"I don't think I would be in this position, talking about an extension, I probably wouldn't have the success that I was having on the field in that environment," Marshall said Thursday. "It wasn't right for me. So I get back with my buddy Jay (Cutler), and having his leadership and his brotherly love really helped."
Of course, Marshall's "bad" seasons are relative. He caught 86 passes for 1,014 yards and three touchdowns in 2010, then made the 2011 Pro Bowl with 81 catches for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns.
But outside of his rookie year, those are the only two seasons in which Marshall didn't catch 100 passes -- and he was 26 and 27 years old with the Dolphins, right around when a receiver usually is in his prime.
Marshall recalled a conversation he had with Cutler -- with whom he played in Denver from 2006-2008 -- during the 2011 season when the idea of him getting traded to Chicago was first brought up.
"I was like, 'man, it'd be cool, but they're way too conservative and I have a past, you know,' " Marshall said. "And Jay was like 'no, we'll get it done.' "
Marshall and his wife wound up making a list of three teams he'd like to be traded to, teams with which he'd have a chance to revive his status as an elite wideout. And at the top of the list:
"Chicago was No. 1," Marshall said. "I wanted to be back with Jay in Chicago. I didn't even know anything about the history, to be honest, I didn't know anything about how great this city was, but I wanted to be back with Jay. So that was another prayer answered."