By Chris Emma—
(CBS) The hypocrisy of Brandon Marshall doling out "No Noise" T-shirts last season summarizes why he's no longer in Chicago.
Attempting to suggest the Bears should avoid distractions, the man who threatened to fight a Lions fan in the name of anti-bullying became a distraction. Days after offering up these shirts, he was heard yelling at kicker Robbie Gould after a loss to the Dolphins – yes, making noise.
Marshall was traded by the Bears to the Jets in March, along with a seventh-round pick, in exchange for a fifth-round pick. He has 101 catches this season, a Jets record, and surpassed 100 receptions for the sixth time in his career, making him the first player in NFL history to do so.
Marshall has 13 touchdown catches in 15 games, one shy of the league lead, and his 1,376 yards are good for fifth overall. Marshall's having a stellar season, cementing his place as one of the NFL's top receivers.
Still, the Bears don't miss Marshall one bit – not for a single second since he's been traded.
Sure, the hope was that Alshon Jeffery could stay healthy and bring the same production Marshall provided and that Kevin White, the seventh overall pick of the 2015 draft, would take the field this season and form a solid duo. But don't think the Bears have any remorse for dealing Marshall.
Fans in New York seemed shocked that their Jets got Marshall for such a small price. Viewed from another prism, that a player of Marshall's caliber only required a fifth-round return was an indictment of his disturbances.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace came to Chicago with the task of ridding the 2014 dysfunction created by Marshall and many others, enabled by former coach Marc Trestman. After taking the job, Pace was quickly able to confirm that removing Marshall was in the best interest of his new franchise. In building better for the future, the Bears have created a cohesiveness and positive culture.
"We're playing for each other," Bears linebacker Sam Acho said Monday.
The Bears don't need to phony motivational tactics of T-shirts. As Acho later said, they have a family feel within their locker room, one conducive for development. They certainly wouldn't have been able to attain growth during Year 1 of a rebuild if Marshall brought disruptions the way he did last season.
No matter how many outstanding plays Marshall makes this season – not even the terrific touchdown on Sunday – the Bears were better off without the potential distraction this season. He's handled himself well in New York, but how would he have managed another losing season in Chicago?
For all the terrific talent of Marshall, he's been traded by three different teams. Marshall may go down as a Hall of Fame receiver and one of the game's greats, but his presence often wears on locker rooms. Former Bears general manager Phil Emery was willing to take that risk in acquiring Marshall from Miami, and Chicago soon realized this, too.
New York may be celebrating its superstar, game-changing receiver who helped pace the Jets toward a win from the playoffs, but the past has revealed what could be to come. Perhaps Marshall has changed, but he said that in Chicago, too.
Then, Marshall made noise, displayed hypocrisy and became a distraction the Bears didn't need or want.
No matter how great Marshall has been this season, the Bears don't hold regret.
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