Bears acquire Pro Bowl WR Marshall from Miami

By Andrew Seligman

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, March 13 2012 5:10 p.m. MDT

CHICAGO — Finally, the Chicago Bears can stop looking for a top receiver.

They reeled one in Tuesday, landing three-time Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall in a trade with the Miami Dolphins that addressed their biggest need.

There was widespread speculation the Bears would go after a high-profile free-agent receiver such as Vincent Jackson, but they filled their biggest hole with a blockbuster deal instead, sending two undisclosed draft picks to Miami.

The trade was first reported by Fox Sports.

It's the first big move under new general manager Phil Emery, who replaced the fired Jerry Angelo, and it gives Jay Cutler the go-to receiver he's been seeking since he arrived from the Broncos in a trade three years ago.

Even better, it reunites him with one of his top targets in Denver.

Marshall made the Pro Bowl for the third time last year, when he had 81 catches for 1,214 yards and six scores. But he also dropped at least four potential touchdown catches and failed to end his career-long playoff drought.

The Dolphins had a losing record in each of his two seasons with them, and coach Tony Sparano was fired in December.

Last July, Marshall disclosed he was diagnosed earlier in the year with borderline personality disorder, which stems from such things as a negative self-image and a fear of failure. Then at midseason he said efforts to keep his emotions on an even keel have hurt his play, and before a Monday night game he claimed he goal was to get ejected before halftime.

Marshall sparred with quarterback Chad Henne during his first season with the Dolphins, but he seemed popular in the locker room last year. Dolphins players reacting on Twitter said they were sorry to hear the news of the trade, while Bears players were overjoyed.

"Hate to see my boy B Marshall go," running back Reggie Bush tweeted. "That's the league for you, one day your hear next day your gone. Chicago is getting one hell of a player!"

"Brandon Marshall out of Miami?" center Mike Pouncey tweeted. "Tell me this ain't true..."

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs called it "a great day" on Twitter, with Chicago agreeing to a two-year deal to retain cornerback Tim Jennings and trading for Marshall.

And Devin Hester Tweeted: "I'm so happy we got another Florida boy on the team!"

In Miami, the deal stirred speculation the Dolphins parted with Marshall to clear cap space and roster room for former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, which might help them lure Peyton Manning to Miami.

In Chicago, it led to a big sigh of relief.

For years, they've lacked a go-to receiver, and now, they have one.

They tried to make their record-setting return specialist Hester their top threat. They brought in Roy Williams last year, hoping he could rediscover some of the form that made him a Pro Bowler in Mike Martz's system in Detroit after a disappointing run in Dallas, but that didn't happen.

Throw in the uncertainty surrounding Johnny Knox after his season-ending back injury and the need was glaring — not that it was the only hole.

The Bears were looking for another pass-rushing defensive end to go with Pro Bowler Julius Peppers. There are issues on the offensive line and in the secondary, and they could use a backup quarterback, too.

The lack of depth was a big reason why they fell apart after a 7-3 start, dropping five straight before winning the final game and missing the playoffs after making the NFC title game the previous year.

The freefall started after Cutler broke his right thumb late in a win over San Diego on Nov. 20 and got another push when Matt Forte sprained a ligament in his right knee against Kansas City on Dec. 4, leaving the offense without its two best players.

The collapse led to Angelo's dismissal and the Bears parting with Martz as their offensive coordinator.

They promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice to replace him and hired Jeremy Bates as quarterbacks coach, reuniting him with Cutler.

Now, Marshall's in the mix, too.

"Jay Cutler and Jeremy Bates makes it great," Marshall's agent, Kennard McGuire wrote in a text message.

When Marshall played against the Bears in 2010, he drew a penalty for taunting by flipping the ball at Cutler, standing in front of the bench.

"We're good friends," Marshall said at the time. "I was just messing with him."

Marshall wore out his welcome in Denver, partly because of a long legal record. He was involved in a New Year's Eve fight that led to the 2007 drive-by slaying of Broncos teammate Darrent Williams.

Last year Marshall's wife was arrested after he was stabbed in the abdomen with a kitchen knife during a domestic dispute. Charges were later dropped.

The Dolphins acquired Marshall from Denver in 2010 for a pair of second-round draft picks.

AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

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