Wide receiver showdown: Browns’ Josh Gordon vs. Bears’ Brandon Marshall, Alshon JefferyContinue reading.
Brandon Marshall on Alshon Jeffery: ‘He’s extending my career’
Brandon Marshall wants a piece of Alshon Jeffery. He wants to line him up, stare him down and leave him in his dust.
And that showdown in the form of a footrace between the Bears’ star receivers will take place before the Bears open training camp in late July.
“I’m not going to let this young kid beat me,” Marshall said Thursday at Halas Hall. “I want to beat him in every single sprint. I want to beat him to the facility in the morning. We challenge each other. We push each other.”
Last year, Marshall and Jeffery beat nearly everybody. No team had a better receiving duo than the Bears. Marshall and Jeffery combined for 189 catches, 2,716 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns; both went to the Pro Bowl.
Marshall said that the Bears’ receiving corps, which currently features Marquess Wilson as the No. 3 receiver, will be even better in 2014. Wilson, a seventh-round pick in 2013, joined Marshall and Jeffery in Florida for training this offseason.
“Like I said to [receivers] coach [Mike] Groh two weeks ago, I think this is the best receiving corps I’ve ever been involved in,” Marshall said. “From top to bottom, every single guy can play. They love the game. Their approach is amazing. So we’re already better than last year.”
All eyes will be on Jeffery, who broke out last season with 81 catches, a team-high 1,421 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He’s just entering his third NFL season.
“He’s extending my career,” Marshall said.
Marshall, of course, signed a three-year, $30 million extension with the Bears on Monday. His contract led to questions about what the Bears will do with Jeffery in the future. Jeffery, though, still has two years remaining on his rookie deal.
Leave it to Marshall to demand more from Jeffery.
“Alshon has potential,” said Marshall, the only player in the NFL to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last seven seasons. “We can’t crown him right now. You have to be consistent; you have to stay healthy. He has all the potential in the world if he can do that, if he can stay humble. That’s what got him here. So if he can do that, he’ll set himself up to secure his family and get him some stability. I think we have the guys in this locker room that can really help him with that.”
Guys like Marshall.
“You know what, I said [the race was] before camp,” Marshall said. “But we may move it up a little bit because I’m feeling good right now.”