Each week of the season DenverBroncos.com will highlight the off-field contributions of a Denver Bronco. This week we talked to linebacker Brandon Marshall, who hosted a clothing drive in early December benefiting the Rose Andom Center for survivors of domestic violence. *
Why is it important for you as an NFL player to give back to the community?
"I feel like we have a platform—we're role models in the community and a lot of people look up to us. So I feel like it's our duty, our job to give back and show the youth that positive things come from people that make it out in the community."
What has been one of your favorite Broncos community events to participate in?
"I liked [S] T.J.'s [Ward] event at Target. It was cool to see the kids excited and buying gifts. You should have seen their faces—they were loving it. So I think that was my favorite."
** You've had a long and windy path to where you are today— being cut by Jacksonville to being the Broncos' leading tackler even though you missed two games—does that shape your message to people about hard work and perseverance?
While some veterans took it easy at practice on Wednesday, Tyke Tolbert got a few reps.
"Oh yeah, that's my story. Everybody has a story, this is my story. I definitely will push it to people and let them know that regardless of the situation and regardless of what it looks like, regardless of what you think, the outcome can still be in your favor if you stick with it, if you stay positive and keep working. I'll continue to push that for the rest of my life. This is my story I'll be able to tell my kids and my kids' kids and whoever want to know. That will hopefully give them hope to keep pushing even through the dark times."
You hosted a clothing drive to benefit the Rose Andom Center, why was something you wanted to do and why was that an organization you wanted to work with?
"It was important to me because first of all, me, my mother and my brother had to stay in a shelter when we were younger (after surviving an incident of domestic violence). Second, it's so cold in Denver, I feel like people need clothes. They need coats and shoes and whatever else we could bring. This was my first individual community event and I was really excited about it. I was really happy about it because I don't what to just spend my time playing football or be known as this football player. I want to be known as 'this guy who was vocal in the community, a great guy, but also a really good football player.' I'm just going to continue to strive to be all of those things."
Why did you start sharing your family's story about how domestic violence impacted you, and how do you hope it helps others?
"I just wanted to let people know that are in tough situations like that or any other situation that just because you may have been in that situation or are in that situation now, doesn't mean that you won't have a brighter day in the future. I'm pretty successful myself, my mom is doing well, my brother is doing well—just because we all were in that situation, it didn't define us. It's an incident that happened, it's part of my life, but look at us now—we're doing well and we want to share that message with people."
What was it like to have your mom, a domestic violence advocate, and your brother, now a social worker, on-site with you for the clothing drive and to be able to share that with Rose Andom, also a survivor of domestic violence?
"It was amazing to see Rose. She was so excited, she was happy. Just to see her—she's the face of the whole organization, the face of [The Rose Andom Center]. My mom was really excited—she was excited just to be there (laughs)—she's an advocate of it. But it was just a great experience. I loved seeing Rose and I loved seeing my mom."
How do you hope to continue your work with the Rose Andom Center to increase awareness for domestic violence issues and support systems?
"We'll definitely keep in touch and hopefully I'll be in Denver for years to come and we'll keep going forward with the clothing drive and hopefully some other things."