Marshall creating more than just separation or catches

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Marshall creating more than just separation or catches

Brandon Marshall is doing things hes never done before, and the effect is bringing an almost palpable change in the chemistry within the Bears wide-receiver group. (Put another way, Roy Williams is gone, in more ways than one.)

Indeed, the first thing you notice isnt Marshall catching passes in drills or 7-on-7s or team sessions. Its what he was doing in warmups.

Marshall is treating the casual throw-and-catch prelim of organized team activity sessions with the same kind of spirit that is typically reserved for those drills when theyre run before a game.

Without degenerating into wanton rah-rah, Marshall is giving a high-five or back slap to each teammate coming in after making his catch. He runs even his warmup routes like they matter.

If hes seeming like a teacher or role model, its because he is, and thats exactly how he sees himself.

I guess its in me, in a way, Marshall said. It took seven years to harness it and put it in a positive direction, and Im excited about it.

This is the first year that Ive actually felt pressure as far as, Ive got to work because theres some young guys and Im getting older, but also, Im recognizing how important it is to bring those guys along. This is a first for me, but Im embracing the opportunity.

The contrast is nothing less than stark between this situation and last years with Williams, signed post-lockout to reprise the kind of season he had once under Mike Martz in Detroit, being anything but a role model for the Bears group of young wideouts.

Williams reported admittedly out of football shape, compromising his effectiveness with unfamiliar quarterbacks who were throwing to a receiver who was sub-standard out of breaks and achieving separation.

His suspect effort grated on some in his group, particularly when he was installed over Johnny Knox as one of the starting wideouts.

That is gone now. Instead of a receiver who fell well short of greatness, the Bears this year have brought in one who is at a point in his career when that has to be the absolute goal.

We strive for greatness, Marshall said. Even in warm-ups and in route running, we get upset when we drop balls or miss throws or call the wrong plays. We know what we expect out of each other, and we know what we expect of guys around us. So were excited.

Wake-up Call: Rose returning to Chicago?; Willson Contreras takes over; State of Cubs-Cards

Wake-up Call: Rose returning to Chicago?; Willson Contreras takes over; State of Cubs-Cards

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Thursday: 

Is #TheReturn getting a reboot? Report says there's a possibility Derrick Rose comes back to Bulls

This is becoming Willson Contreras' team, whether or not Cubs add Alex Avila or another veteran catcher

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for tight ends

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

That escalated quickly: Cubs just a game back of Brewers, could be in first place as soon as this weekend

Ping-pong balls everywhere: Where do the Bulls rank among projected lottery teams?

Joe Maddon's prime-time message: 'Help or die'

Report: Derrick Rose is considering teaming up with LeBron James, Cavs

Cubs Talk Podcast: State of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and what lies ahead

Why Adam Engel came up with his unique batting stance, and how he's tweaked it since

Playing with the enemy: Chicago athletes who teamed up with rivals

Playing with the enemy: Chicago athletes who teamed up with rivals

Chicago's chosen son may soon play with the enemy. 

According to reports on Thursday, Derrick Rose is in talks to join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year deal. 

That is indeed hard to imagine, considering the former MVP has spent years battling James for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. But leaving the Windy City to join a rival team isn't a new concept. 

In fact, a few Chicago superstar athletes have done it before: 

-- Chris Chelios, Blackhawks to Red Wings

One of the best defenseman in hockey, Chelios was traded to the Detroit Red Wings after nine productive seasons in Chicago. He hoisted a Stanley Cup not long after and finished his 10-year Red Wings career with 152 points and a plus-158. 

-- Julius Peppers, Bears to Packers

After becoming a cap casualty with the Bears, Peppers chose greener pastures in Wisconsin. The defensive end signed with the Green Bay Packers, where he's tallied 25 sacks in three seasons. 

-- Dexter Fowler, Cubs to Cardinals

Well, at least he won a ring here. Fowler's surprise return to the North Side in 2016 helped boost the Cubs to their first World Series trophy in 108 years, but after winning, the center fielder rightly opted for the money. He signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal in St. Louis last offseason. 

Watch the video above as Siera Santos and Kelly Crull relive the heartbreak.