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Brandon Marshall says he and Jay Cutler didn't have the best relationship

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall makes a one-handed catch at training camp, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Florham Park, N.J. Credit: AP / Frank Franklin II

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Brandon Marshall still can't figure out why his former teammate Jay Cutler hasn't been able to put it together.

"I don't know. I don't know if he's been hit too many times, he's been beat up. 'Cause you've got to think about it: he's one of the most-hit quarterbacks ever and that can take a toll on you," Marshall, now the Jets' No. 1 playmaker, said Thursday on ESPN's "First Take." "I can't call it, but I just know we're getting older. ...And you don't know when that window is there and how big that window is. And I felt like that window was short . . . So I wanted everybody to come together and try to take advantage of that opportunity -- and we didn't do it."

Marshall, now on his fourth team in 10 years, lamented the missed opportunities during his three years in Chicago. The Bears haven't made a playoff appearance since 2010 when they reached the NFC Championship Game.

Cutler has been the quarterback since 2009 and he's 44-38 as their starter.

"The guy is one of the most talented guys out there, he's one of the smartest guys out there. He has everything that he needs to be successful," Marshall said of Cutler, "but the culture is for all of us to say: You know what, we've got each other's backs."

Despite a talented roster that included Marshall and young receiver Alshon Jeffery, the Bears struggled mightily last season, finishing 5-11 and in last place in the NFC North.

Prior to last season, when he had 61 receptions for 721 yards, Marshall put up seven consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus yards. And at the tail end of his time in Chicago, it became clear that he and Cutler didn't have the greatest of relationships.

"I felt like I was the only one in the organization that had the [guts] to hold him accountable," said Marshall, who added that he and Cutler "didn't talk during the year much and we still haven't talked.

"It didn't go the way I wanted it to go, and there's some things I'd probably take back. But I didn't want to waste any time," he said. "You've got to think about this: I'm displacing my family, and there's coaches too. That's why I'm so passionate about this game, that's why I give everything when I hit this field. It's because you don't just play for yourself, you're playing for hundreds of people in the organization.

"Right now, my [former] wide receivers coach is still looking for a job and I don't think that's fair. I think when you strap it on and you say I'm going to play for the Chicago Bears, I'm playing for the New York Jets, you've got to give it your all. You've got to play for more than the money, you've got to play for more than yourself. That's the only way this thing works. Some of us get it and some of us don't. And last year, I just felt like we had all the pieces and I just felt like there were a few things that were missing."

As for his fractured relationship with his former quarterback, Marshall said it is "sad" he and Cutler don't talk anymore. Especially considering how in sync they were on the field.

"I don't think there's anybody in the league that has more chemistry than us," he said. "We saw the game the right way. We didn't even need to talk. And I thought that was something we could build on . . . So, for me, I just felt like the time was now. The time was then for us to take advantage of that."


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