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Marshall stays silent on suspension

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Brandon Marshall broke his silence Thursday but didn't really say anything.

The Denver Broncos' Pro Bowl receiver hovered outside the locker room until 12:04 p.m. -- two minutes until closing time -- then went to his locker to answer questions in his first interview since his suspension last month.

Marshall ignored inquiries about that suspension, his health and his state of mind and instead talked only about how he was preparing to face the Cleveland Browns this weekend.

Marshall missed almost all of the team's offseason program while rehabbing from hip surgery, protesting his contract and the team's refusal to trade him and serving a suspension for throwing a temper tantrum at practice.

He returned to work last week but declined all interview requests. Had he remained silent this week, he would have risked a letter of reprimand from the league and possibly a $5,000 fine.

After learning that the locker room would close at 12:06 p.m., he told reporters he'd talk at 12:04.

At that time, he sauntered in without a smile, then spoke for 1 minute, 40 seconds.

Where's your head at after coming back?

"We're going on two weeks into the season, going against a really good Cleveland Browns defense, so we're going to do our best to prepare for that defense," Marshall said.

Have you knocked off the rust? How are you feeling physically?

"I'm feeling good. I'm doing everything I can to prepare for this defense. They're really physical. They're smart. They fly all around the field," Marshall said.

Did you have a lot of making up to do with your teammates after your insubordination and suspension?

"Well, I mean, this week, you know, in preparing for Cleveland ..." Marshall stammered, "it's going to be tough, we know that. And we're going to do our best to give it our best shot."

How close are you to being the Pro Bowl receiver who had back-to-back 100-catch seasons?

"Uh, I think Coach Mangini is doing a great job with the guys, just getting them to do what they're supposed to do, do their job, and it's making it tough on opposing offenses."

Did you not hear the question? How do you feel you're doing?

"Oh, I'm doing good," Marshall said. "I think I was 100 percent a long time ago. I'm just taking the time now just to prepare myself for each week. And this week is Cleveland."

How long until you become a starter again?

"Last question!" a public relations staffer interrupted.

With that, Marshall ignored the final question and slipped past the camera operators and phalanx of reporters and left the locker room, secure in knowing he had avoided punishment for not cooperating with the media.

Marshall doesn't want his name to cross commissioner Roger Goodell's desk again. He was summoned to the commissioner's office last year and suspended for the opener over a series of domestic disputes involving his former girlfriend.

This summer, Marshall was acquitted of charges he beat up his former girlfriend. Marshall had hoped that verdict would give him leverage for a new contract either in Denver or elsewhere.

He's earning $2.2 million this season, a bargain for a player of his abilities, provided he can return to his pre-injury status as one of the game's elite receivers.

The Broncos want to see if he can stay out of trouble and healthy, productive and focused on the field.

Marshall was suspended for the final week and a-half of the preseason after petulant behavior at practice, including batting down a pass during a drill and punting a ball away instead of handing it to a ball boy as players were instructed to do.

Marshall had two drops and four catches for 27 yards in the Broncos' 12-7 win over Cincinnati last week, when he came in as a sub behind starters Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley.