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Durkin: Brandon Marshall Doubles Down On Twitter Spat

By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) There are times on the Bears beat in which the team seems like one of those 3-D pictures that I just can't quite see.

Today was one of those times.

"Guys are focused on the Minnesota game," coach Marc Trestman said. "It's evident throughout the day."

Meanwhile, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall spent Thursday challenging a Lions' fan to a fight on Twitter.

Focused, you say, coach?

In the middle of a three-game tailspin, doing damage control on a situation like this surely was at the bottom of Trestman's priority list, if it even had a place on it at all.

The question of where the leadership resides on this team has been asked all year. Situations like this only speak to how deeply it is lacking in the locker room.

First it was Lamarr Houston taking to Twitter to suggest that fans "eat dirt." Now this, with Marshall doubling down Friday on his offer of $25,000 to a fan to get into the boxing ring to fight him. All in the name of "anti-bullying," however contradictory that sounds.

"This is what I want to do," Marshall said. "I want to blow this thing even bigger. I want to launch a campaign of anti-bullying. Not a campaign like we're going to start an organization. We're going to have an event. And we're going to have a nice ring. And have it at my ring. And get some gloves. And we're going to get maybe Showtime. Maybe you guys. Maybe NBC can come out, produce it and try to raise a lot of money for anti-bullying. That's where the world's going right now, with Twitter and Instagram. Everybody wants to hide behind their words. Even sometimes the media wants to hide behind their words and think that they're tough guys. This is an opportunity for him to do something nice for some kids. But also back up his words."

Marshall went on to say he gets these types of exchanges and threats every day via social media, but he wasn't specific as to why this particular person provoked a response.

"It's an opportunity," Marshall said. "See, what you guys don't understand is when you guys see challenges, I see opportunities. When you read my social network, it says, thought-provoker. That's what it is. What's the big deal? Why do you all care? Why do you all care?

"It is entertaining, so why is it a big deal to entertaining? It's fun. Every single day. Every single day someone says something to you derogatory or kind of disrespectful. That comes with it. Then there's times if you go through my history of exchanges with people, there's times where I put people on the spot and kind of challenge them."

Granted, there's never a time and a place for a pointless interaction with a keyboard warrior, but perhaps the fact that the team has lost five of its past six games and has fallen short of their own expectations may have weighed into Marshall's thoughts? Not a chance, Marshall said.

"It don't matter about no timing," Marshall said. "I'm a grown man. There's no timing. Because we're 3-6 you expect me to change who I am? This is who I am. I'm not changing who I am. This is who I am. I'm not trying to impress you. This is who I am. I love to have fun. I'm a thought-provoker and that's what it is."

Whether he intended to assume this role or not, Marshall has become a spokesperson for the locker room. Hearing his explanation about why he engaged the fan at all flies in the face of Trestman's suggestion that his team is focused.

"The No. 1 thing is it will be addressed," Trestman said of Marshall's tweets. "No. 2 -- and I've said this many times in here -- that we're in a new world in social media. We talk to our guys a lot about it. We don't police everything that they do. We ask them to take a deep breath before they push that send button. Hopefully, they make decisions that are in the best interest of our team. But we're not perfect. None of us are.

"But certainly, that's not the most important part of our weekly focus. But it's certainly something that at the proper time, we can talk about. Because we talk about all the instances where these things come up -- we haven't had very many -- but we always do address them to keep our players mindful that they're going to be under a microscope and they're going to be under a microscope on social media.

"We're focused on beating Minnesota. I think all of us are into doing that and I don't want to make out of it anything more than it was, it was a response in social media. It wasn't anybody's preparation or anybody's work ethic out on the football field.

"The policy here is as simple as this, we cannot monitor everything our players do. For the most part, our players do a terrific job on social media, because I get feedback from the people that are responsible for looking at it. There comes times that happens -- and it happens infrequently -- and when it does, we address it with our players and move forward."

I come back to that 3-D picture again when I think about Marshall. I simply -- and happily -- don't see this as he does. This isn't fun and the only thought it's provoking to me is just how far will the radical, necessary changes with this organization go this offseason?

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

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