LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Chicago Bears star Brandon Marshall said his surgically repaired hip is structurally sound heading into the season opener this week.
The Bears meet the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pro Bowl receiver says he's in good shape after missing the preseason finale. He had an excused absence for that game against Cleveland and was examined over the weekend.
He was back with the Bears on Monday.
"It's go time," Marshall said.
He said the joint is "in amazing shape" after having his third hip surgery in four years. The arthroscopic procedure in January followed a season in which Marshall set franchise records for catches (118) and yards receiving (1,508).
"The thing is it's tough playing at a high level," Marshall said. "When you have a surgery, sometimes you get frustrated getting back to that level. We have a lot of amazing things going on here on the field and off the field, and I want to be a part of it. So at times it can be [frustrating]. But we made it to Week 1 and that's a positive thing."
General manager Phil Emery predicted bigger things for Marshall, saying he's better than he was a year ago. Statistically, it would be hard for Marshall to match what he did last season, particularly if No. 2 receiver Alshon Jeffery stays healthy and the Bears make good on their vow to spread the ball.
"I see a guy that is more dynamic," Emery said. "I see a guy better in and out of his breaks. I see a stronger player. I think he made the comments that he was at 4.5 body fat percentage. He looks it. When you stand up behind Brandon Marshall, you realize how big that man is at the position that he plays. He's at an elite level for his position in terms of size, dynamic ability, production. I don't see any back off. Actually, I see a better player."
He's a player who turned some heads last week when he expressed frustration over his recovery and said he might have rushed to get back, even though he received rest throughout camp and practices leading up to preseason games.
Given his well-documented battle with borderline personality disorder, a condition that led to past problems on and off the field, that raised some eyebrows.
"We don't see (frustration)," coach Marc Trestman said. "I don't see it in the meetings. I saw him very attentive in meetings. Again, he worked very hard out in practice, from individual through the practice. We didn't rep him every play. But the plays that he was in there he went hard and looked good."
Marshall dismissed last week's frustration as something natural.
"I was a little frustrated, and I'm going to be frustrated," he said. "I think that's just human nature. There's going to be some ups and downs this season, but we've got to stay productive and efficient and effective in the way we act. I'm just excited to be here for one more."
Marshall said Emery and Trestman have supported him in his recovery and that they've talked repeatedly about what he needs to do to be ready for the opener.
Will the hip be an issue this season. Emery wasn't quite ready to go that far when he was asked if he's confident it won't be.
"I don't have the magic bottle and the wand," he said. "I can't predict. But the athlete that I see, the player that I see, and the competitor that I know he is, I expect him to be ready to go against the Bengals, and then each and every game plays out after that. We all know that during the NFL season, this is a tough physical game. People get bruised up a little bit."
NOTES: The Bears acquired TE Dante Rosario from the Dallas Cowboys for a seventh-round pick in next year's draft. ... Bears coach Marc Trestman on the decision to keep two quarterbacks — Jay Cutler and Josh McCown: "It was a discussion we had and I said this over the weeks that we wanted to try to find the best 53."
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