Brandon Marshall could've held out for more money or forced his way out of Chicago and into a lucrative contract elsewhere. But the 30-year-old had more than mountains of cash on his mind when he signed a three-year, $30 million extension with the Bears earlier this month.
Specifically, Marshall wants to leave a legacy and be immortalized with the legendary names in Bears history. But he understands his legacy won't just be about him -- it'll be about the Bears and if they're able to win a Super Bowl in the next few years.
"I would love to be the highest-paid receiver in the league," Marshall said. "I think every guy should work toward that. But we're able to have guys like (Jermon) Bushrod, we're able to have Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. We have these guys that mean so much to our offense and the success of our team.
"It's one of those things that you really have to sit back and ask yourself, what is it really about. That was the biggest thing through negotiations."
Marshall's had plenty of personal success since breaking out as a star with Denver eight years ago. He's made five Pro Bowls, caught over 100 passes in five seasons and, outside of his rookie year, never had fewer than 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He's set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns since coming to Chicago.
But Marshall's press conference Thursday at Halas Hall was less about him and more about his teammates, coaches, support staff and family -- all of whom he thanked, some tearfully, to the point he joked "it feels like a retirement thing right now."
Marshall said his trade from Miami to Chicago was "career-saving," but it also saved his chance at securing a positive legacy. The Bears haven't made the playoffs, let alone contend for a Super Bowl, since Marshall came to down, but he feels like the right pieces are in place for a run at a legacy-altering Lombardi Trophy.
"This is a great opportunity for each and every individual that's a part of this thing," Marshall said. "This is just an amazing place from the organization to the city. This is something that can possibly inspire people and bring a whole state together. I think when you look around at the history of this and the organization, it's the best.
"We want to continue that legacy, continue to carry the torch. We need to get back to the Super Bowl, this organization, this city deserves a Super Bowl, and I think we're primed and ready to do that. But we have to continue to put in the work and take advantage of our opportunities."