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Brandon Marshall says all the right things on conference call

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrates his touchdown reception in the first half of a game against the Minnesota Vikings. (Sept. 15, 2013) Credit: AP

Brandon Marshall saw it coming.

When the Bears made major front-office changes in the offseason, he knew his time in Chicago was over.

"It really wasn't unexpected," the receiver said on a conference call Friday about his trade to the Jets. The Bears shipped Marshall and a seventh-round pick to the Jets in exchange for a fifth-rounder.

Marshall's outspokenness, and reported tensions with former quarterback Jay Cutler, helped pave the way for his departure. But the receiver insisted it's all love between him and Cutler. "I've always described our relationship this way, and it hasn't changed, that we're brothers," he said. " . . . We love each other and we also get into it, but it's always been that way and it will never change."

"I love him, I love his family, I love his sons and I wish him the best."

Now Marshall is focused on building something special with the Jets. And ending his career with them, he said.

"That was the plan in Chicago and that's definitely the plan here in New York," said Marshall, 30, who had at least 1,000 receiving yards every year from 2007-13.

He raved about new coach Todd Bowles, who served as the defensive coordinator and interim head coach during Marshall's two seasons in Miami. "Look out, everybody," he said. He's a man's man. He's a leader."

Marshall also spoke glowingly of Geno Smith, the presumptive starter unless the Jets tab veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick or draft a quarterback who can beat the other two out. Marshall said he and Smith agreed to work out together this offseason and focus on building chemistry with other skill players.

Does Marshall expect Smith to be the starter in 2015?

"Well, he's the starting quarterback now," he said, adding that Smith planned to fly to New Jersey Friday night. " . . . One thing I do know about Coach is that he's going to create competition."

"The outside perception is one way, but when you get in the building, it's totally different," he said of Smith. "And I was shocked to talk to him and just hear his intelligence and see his drive just pouring through the phone and hearing that from the team."

Marshall believes he can be "the guy" in the Jets' offense, but he's not looking out for only himself. He's eager to be a part of a unit that includes Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. "These guys have created something special," Marshall said. "This is a young team, a team that's hungry. It's going to be a special journey."

And with offensive coordinator Chan Gailey calling plays, Marshall expects to take his game "to a whole 'nother level."

"It doesn't matter if you're the No. 1 guy or the fourth guy. Everyone gets the ball and everyone eats," he said.

Marshall, who suffers from borderline personality disorder and is a spokesman for mental health awareness, admits he's a work in progress.

But he believes he's found an organization that accepts him for who he is and understands "it's a personality, not a character issue."

"I was lost and really didn't cope and deal with things the right way the first couple of years," he said of his diva reputation. "My second year in Miami [2011] is when there really was a transformation in my life and in my heart."

Marshall wouldn't say whether he'll continue his role on Showtime's "Inside The NFL," but he noted the convenience of the studio, which now is 30 minutes away. He did stress, however, that he doesn't want to command the spotlight."I just want to be the best teammate, the best person.""I want to win," he said. ". . . And I just want to go out the right way."


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