EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sheldon Richardson may think that Brandon Marshall was the source of the Jets' unhappy locker room last season, but Marshall's new Giants coaches and teammates see him in an entirely different way.
"Brandon has been a breath of fresh air for us," head coach Ben McAdoo said on Thursday. "He comes out, he works hard at football, you can see he loves football. It's refreshing to have a guy that's been as productive as he has over his career and has played as long as he's played, being out here working the way he works; you can really see he loves the game."
McAdoo is just the latest, but far from the only member of the Giants organization to express how thrilled they are to have landed the 33-year-old receiver. Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch have glowed about their new player, and so has quarterback Eli Manning. And they haven't just praised his size (6-4, 230) and talent either.
They've gushed about his character and attitude, too.
"He loves football and you can see it in the way he practices, the way he prepares," McAdoo said. "And he always has a smile on his face. He's looking to learn."
That's quite the contrast to the view of Marshall that emerged from the dysfunctional Jets locker room last season. He was the center of a locker room feud that cast a "dark cloud" over the team, in the words of another former Jet, Darrelle Revis. Marshall and Richardson got into a heated argument in Week 3 and their problems continued throughout the season, eventually becoming very public at the end of the year.
That led to Richardson, earlier this week, saying how there are "15 reasons" the Jets locker room is a better place this season -- a not-so-subtle nod to Marshall's uniform number.
Marshall, on Thursday, didn't offer his own 91 reasons why he's in a better place now. But he did name a few reasons why he's happy to be a member of the Giants, which he called "a top three organization" in the NFL.
"You hear about it, and it's a known thing across the league, but when you are in here you can feel it," Marshall said. "I had an opportunity to sit at the desk with Phil Simms for a few years at Showtime, and he is always talking about it. I thought that he was just blowing smoke up my butt, but this is truly a special place."
It remains to be seen, of course, how long this mutual love affair will last, but for now this is far more than a marriage of convenience. And the football part is only beginning. Because as much as the Giants seem to love Marshall the person, what really has them excited is the prospect of what Marshall the player can do.
"He's a big guy so he gives us that big presence on the outside," receiver Sterling Shepard said. "He's a great guy to learn from. Just the little stuff. He will come and help you out with on the side. He doesn't really know the system yet, so it's hard for him to help you with anything that has to do with schemes but when it comes to technique, he's always there on the side coaching."
"I have a wealth of experience that they can pull from organically," Marshall added. "Whenever that happens, I'm always open and happy to give advice."