For Pete's sake

Posted April 08, 2010 @ 11:01 a.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

For obvious reasons, there's still a whole lot of head-shaking going on in NFL circles in the wake of Mike Shanahan's shocking heist of six-time Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb from the Eagles.

With dramatic suddenness, a delightfully mellow Easter Sunday turned into a frenzied nightmare for pro football Web sites far and wide, obligated to deliver the inside scoop without hesitation.

Suffice it to say, it comes with the territory.

More and more each season, it has become a given in the line of work to which I have devoted practically my entire adult life that there is absolutely no rest for the weary in the good ol' NFL.

We should have known, after all, that Shanahan, the former Broncos kingpin who had been keeping a surprisingly nondescript profile since returning to the pro football wars as the head coach of the Redskins, had something earthshaking up his sleeve.

The trade of McNabb within the NFC East certainly qualifies as an earthshaking maneuver.

Three days removed from the McNabb shocker, as I peck away at this column on another relatively slow day in the world of pro football, something tells me that the earth could begin shaking big-time in the not-too-distant future, thanks to another old/new head coach whose offseason moves up to now have been more odd than anything else.

Don't look now, but Pete Carroll, who was paid a king's ransom to leave USC and renovate a Seahawks team that, for my money, was the absolute worst in the league at the end of last season, just might be ready to drop another big-time bomb on the NFL landscape.

Can you say "Brandon Marshall"?

Please understand that I am not privy to any inside information whatsoever on the prospect of Carroll and the Seahawks taking a deep breath and cutting a deal for Marshall — via either a trade with the Broncos or, a lot less likely, a restricted free-agent offer that would require them to relinquish the sixth overall pick in the upcoming draft.

But while the price both in compensation and money is expected to be very hefty whatever route they would take — Marshall is said to be looking for at least $10 million a year — I can feel something really big about to happen out in Seattle in these raggedy old bones of mine.

Make no mistake: Despite his well-documented "rap" sheet, Marshall, who has managed three straight 100-catch seasons, is going to be doing his thing for some team come September, for better or worse.

We're talking high risk/high reward of the highest order with this particular cat, my friends. But the way I see it, if ever there was a team that needed a really dramatic lift, it's the Seahawks, who certainly have the money to gamble, thanks to their zillionaire owner, Paul Allen.

As it is, the Hawks have already done their share of high-stakes gambling this offseason, dropping down 20 spots in the second round and giving up a third-round draft pick in 2011 to the Chargers in exchange for QB Charlie Whitehurst, whom they apparently envision as their QB of the future despite the fact he has yet to throw a regular-season pass in four years at the pro level.

In addition, Marshall and his fiancée, Michi Nogami-Campbell, were flown in on Allen's seaplane for a visit to the Seahawks' headquarters March 6-7. A few weeks later, Carroll said at the league meetings in Orlando that the Seahawks have the advantage of some "unique insights" on Marshall, courtesy of the three coaches on his staff who worked with the receiver in Denver — offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, QB coach Jedd Fisch and TE coach Pat McPherson.

On the field, Marshall would quickly fill one of the team's numerous major needs. A split end with speed, size and separation ability, he could be the perfect complement to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, one of the league's premier possession receivers.

But off the field?

We're talking about a player who has clearly been more trouble than he's worth in the Mile High City.

Just last March, he and his fiancée were arrested after a public skirmish in which several witnesses, including an off-duty policeman, reported seeing them kick and punch each other. The case was later dismissed, but the bad taste from the incident lingers.

Marshall was also on hand for the New Year's Day 2007 altercation that led to the fatal shooting of Broncos teammate Darrent Williams.

Those are just two of the red flags he has waved repeatedly during his four-year career.

Could Carroll, who has been known for his willingness to give troubled players a second chance, help get Marshall's act together in a neat, new environment?

I wouldn't blame him at all if he decided to steer clear of the Samsonite that Marshall carries. But as I've already indicated, I just have this feeling he is going to take a chance on Marshall.

And I would hardly be surprised if he followed in Shanahan's footsteps, catching everybody off guard on another quiet Sunday.

Memo to my fellow football-writing brethren: Be forewarned.


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