The Broncos aren't sure what Goodell's ruling will be, but there is some concern that he will be suspended for multiple games.
"You're always concerned anytime the commissioner calls you in to have a meeting," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's obviously not a good sign."
Rod Smith, the Broncos' all-time leading receiver who officially retired on the eve of training camp, went with Marshall to the meeting with Goodell. He has acted as a mentor for Marshall and hoped the third-year receiver wouldn't be suspended.
"I pray he doesn't," Smith said. "I honestly believe he has a great direction in his life. We've talked about some of the things he's doing now that are different than he was doing at this time a year ago."
The off-field problems put a cloud over Marshall's remarkable comeback from a serious arm injury he suffered in March. He couldn't catch any passes for three months, but caught the ball well with both hands when training camp started.
Marshall looked good fighting off bump coverage, which he hadn't done since the injury. He also went up strong on a couple of catches, including an incredible grab over cornerback Dre Bly when Bly was in front of Marshall and appeared to have an interception. Marshall went over him and wrestled the ball away for the catch.
He was winded, but that's not too surprising considering he didn't participate in any offseason camp practices.
"I think he is a little out of shape and he needs to run a little bit, but he caught the ball well and he was physical," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "I am excited to see him in a few weeks."
If Marshall misses time because of a suspension, it would be a huge blow to the Broncos' offense. He caught 102 passes last year, the third second-year player in NFL history to reach 100 in a season. The Broncos signed Keary Colbert and Darrell Jackson in the offseason, but neither one is a true No. 1 receiver at this point in their careers. Without Marshall, there would be more pressure on the Broncos' running game as well.
If Marshall avoids suspension, or if his suspension isn't very long, he could still put up big numbers this season. Cutler should be better in his third year and Marshall has put behind concerns that his arm would hinder his performance. He caught passes just like he did before the arm injury.
"He still looks like our No. 1 guy," cornerback Champ Bailey said.
Marshall declined to speak to the media about his arm, the meeting with Goodell or anything else.
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