RENTON -- Brandon Marshall first toured the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in 2010, just a few short months after Pete Carroll was hired as head coach and John Schneider was named general manager.
Eight years later, Marshall is now officially a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
"It’s a blessing to finally be here," Marshall said Wednesday following his first practice with the Seahawks in OTAs. "I’m excited to play with the guys and learn."
Marshall was a restricted free agent with the Denver Broncos when he first visited Seattle. Carroll - fresh off nine years as the head coach of USC - courted Marshall much like a prized recruit. Marshall flew up to the facility in a sea plane that parked outside the back of the facility on the shores of Lake Washington.
"I think we flew him into the dock or something silly like that," Carroll said. "It was crazy; we never did it again. But we went all out and it didn’t work out, so since then we’ve had our eye on him for a long time, because of his style of play."
Marshall signed with Seattle on Wednesday and took to the practice fields during one of the team's 10 OTA practices this spring. Marshall is still working his way back into football shape after an ankle injury ended his 2017 season with the New York Giants after just five games. He said he also took the ankle injury as an opportunity to get a long-time toe injury fixed as well. He had intended to hold off addressing the toe injury until after he was retired, but decided to get it handled as well since a rehab process was already necessary.
"Freak accident," Marshall said of the ankle injury sustained last year. "Probably since 2015, my first year with the Jets, I hurt my toe in the Oakland game. Knew I needed surgery but it was one of those things where I was going to wait until I retire because a surgery like that it takes five, six, seven months to get back right.
"When I snapped my ankle I said 'well, I've got half of the season and then I've got the offseason so I might as well do it now.' That's the thing that took the longest. Right when I was released from the Giants (on April 19), probably a few days later I was able to run pain free."
At 6-foot-5, Marshall provides one of the larger receiving targets on Seattle's roster. Only Tanner McEvoy at 6-foot-6 is taller than Marshall. However, Marshall has significantly more track record as a receiver in the NFL.
"The obvious is that he’s a big receiver, he’s a physical guy, he works well in close areas, working off of defenders and all of that. The fact that he has been a go-to guy in his past, there’s those kinds of thoughts out there," Carroll said of what enticed them about Marshall.
Marshall said he didn't have a ton of options available to him coming off an injury and being 34 years old.
"I think the sentiment around the league is that I'm done," he said. "And I get it, rightfully so. When you get on the other side of 30 (years old) and your production slips and you have a big injury, people just count you out. So it was an interesting process, a humbling process to say the least."
Marshall had 18 catches for 154 yards in five games last season with the Giants before an ankle injury in October ended his year. He had 59 catches for 788 yards and three touchdowns in 2016 and 109 catches for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 with the Jets.
"For me, I’m a big guy, really physical, my game is really built off of that, and I want to do that plus more. I want to be more consistent at the thing that I’m great at—big-body guy, getting in and out of my breaks, being consistent, moving the chains, getting in the red zone, you’ve got to be unstoppable down there. I pride myself on that," Marshall said.
"I’m ready to get that part of my game on track. The last two years have been down for me, so I’m excited to get back in the red zone and do that. I’m excited about where I’m at right now, physically and mentally."
-- Safeties Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Bradley McDougald all were not present for the team practice on Wednesday. McDougald had a family matter he was attending to, per Carroll, while Thomas remains away due to contractual reasons and Chancellor awaits further testing on his injured neck. Defensive end Frank Clark and cornerback Byron Maxwell remain away as well as they don't appear inclined to attend the voluntary workouts.
-- Fullback Marcus Martin was waived to open a roster spot for the addition of Brandon Marshall. Additionally, Marshall was given his customary No. 15 jersey with Keenan Reynolds moving to No. 85.
Photo Credit: New Seahawks wide receiver Brandon Marshall speaks with reporters about his decision to sign with Seattle and his first day with the team. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)