ENGLEWOOD • Josh McDaniels kept trying to change the topic off of Brandon Marshall, and for good reason.
The Denver Broncos new coach and his disgruntled receiver didn’t share the same enthusiasm about the beginning of training camp on Monday. First, Marshall came to the media room and refused to say he was happy to be with the Broncos or that he expected to be playing for them this season.
Marshall held out of a mandatory minicamp, asked for a trade, and made it clear he came to training camp to avoid the daily fine, which would have been more than $15,000 per day.
“I’m under contract and, you know, it’s my obligation to be here and I’m here,” Marshall said.
McDaniels came to the podium a few minutes later and didn’t want Marshall to set the tone for the day. To McDaniels, this was a big step toward the season as rookies, quarterbacks and players coming off injury such as Marshall took the field. There were 23 players, although that number could grow to 27 when first-round picks Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers sign contracts and linebackers D.J. Williams and Wesley Woodyard get over a flu bug.
Whenever McDaniels was asked about Marshall, he usually steered the conversation to something general about the team. McDaniels didn’t want to address any of Marshall’s comments directly, and said he wouldn’t be a distraction.
“Nope,” McDaniels said. “We’re excited. This is a beginning. Training camp has opened officially and the veterans will join us in a few days and we’ll get rolling and start seeing what kind of season we’re going to have.”
Based on Marshall’s demeanor Monday, he won’t be easy to ignore all year. He continually refused to say he was excited to be with Denver, turning it into an answer that he was simply excited to play football.
When asked if he could play this season with the Broncos and not be distracted about his contract, which pays about $2.2 million this year, he said he had faith in conversations with owner Pat Bowlen and his agent, but wouldn’t specifically say that he was referring to his trade request. Marshall was also asked if he has spoken to McDaniels, and he replied that his agent Kennard McGuire has.
But on Monday, Marshall’s hip that required offseason surgery felt good enough to run routes, and McDaniels didn’t want to worry about any other potential issues with his Pro Bowl receiver.
“It’s an exciting time for us, and that’s what we’re focused on, and I’m not going to focus on anything else,” McDaniels said.