FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - By all indications, the Brandon Marshall-Darrelle Revis brouhaha from Friday’s Jets practice, during which the two star players jawed at one another and Marshall attempted to slap Revis, can be traced to the training-camp temper flare-ups that invariably occur on any team.
So there shouldn’t be any linkage whatsoever to the famous punch of a year ago, when linebacker IK Enemkpali cold-cocked Geno Smith last August in the locker room over an unpaid $600 airline ticket. Nor should it be inferred that Todd Bowles is running a loose ship because two of his best players nearly came to blows during practice.
But given Marshall’s track record, it is fair to at least put a checkmark next to the Aug. 5 incident. Although Marshall deserves the benefit of the doubt because he has so dutifully carved out his place as a leader on this team, his run-ins with teammates in Denver, Miami and Chicago are cause enough to look at what happened Friday with a wary eye.
Marshall has been a terrific player and locker-room presence with the Jets. But it was worth noting the collective reaction from Chicago in the aftermath of Friday’s skirmish, with social media blowing up in a chorus of “we told you so” messages.
After a spotless season in 2012 after being traded from the Dolphins to the Bears, Marshall eventually wore out his welcome and became a polarizing figure in the locker room. By the time he was traded to the Jets in March 2015, the feeling among many players, fans and media members was good riddance. Of course, Marshall responded with a career-high 14 touchdown receptions and racked up 1,502 receiving yards.
He also won over the Jets’ locker room with an infectious personality and served as a calming influence when Enemkpali’s punch threw the Jets’ season into temporary turmoil. Marshall also engendered goodwill and respect with his continued work in promoting awareness of mental illness, drawing on his own experiences in dealing with the borderline personality disorder with which he was diagnosed in 2011.
So Friday’s flare-up shouldn’t undo all the good that Marshall has done for the Jets. One blowup doesn’t a trend make, especially because both players handled the aftermath reasonably and respectably, because Bowles chalked it up to the training- camp grind and because their teammates are convinced it was a one-off.
“I was joking with Revis that their competitive nature brought out a lot of everybody on the team that day,” safety Marcus Gilchrist said after Monday’s practice, which was devoid of fights or arguments. “They were talking today like it never happened. That’s just what happens in this game, especially after five, six days in pads. Tempers flare. Stuff goes on like that. This is a violent sport, and we’re at the top of our profession, especially those guys. They’re two great players, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s going to happen. I’m not worried at all.”
Nor is center Nick Mangold, even after being reminded of Marshall’s locker-room issues elsewhere.
“All I know of my experience with BMarsh is his time here, and from that time here, he’s a fiery competitor,” Mangold said. “But he knows when to let loose and when not to. That’s probably what he’s learned over the years.”
Why the blowup, then?
“It’s football. These things happen,” Mangold said. “That’s two great competitors going at it, and you kind of expect it. That’s what goes on. You should see what happens in the trenches. You guys don’t look in there. That’s where real football is played.”
OK, we get it. Momentary blowup after some trash talk and one-on-one competition in the heat and drudgery of training- camp practice. A one-time deal that isn’t the start of the kind of problems Marshall created elsewhere.
Or so the Jets hope.