Brandon Marshall isn't just interested in making big hits on the field this year. The veteran linebacker wanted to help his brother, a burgeoning R&B singer, chase his passion, so the two started a music label earlier this year. And that's just the tip of the iceberg that Marshall sees in his future.*
Ben Swanson: What have you come to understand about why Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy's been so successful crafting offenses?
BM: Just in OTAs and training camp, seeing his offense, seeing how he attacks us, seeing how brilliant he is. He's brilliant and he's competitive. I think that helps, as well. And you want to think every coach is competitive, but he's actively competitive. He's like Adam Gase. Adam Gase was actively competitive out here on the practice field. He would try to beat or scheme against one player or a couple players. And McCoy's the same way: just competitive. And he's innovative, and I think his approach is amazing.
BS: In the past you've worked to help domestic violence survivors, in part because your family was affected by domestic violence when you were a child. The NFL has also gotten more involved in domestic violence prevention, administering yearly seminars for each NFL team since 2014. How effective have you found them to be?
BM: At the end of the day, it's still tough when you get in that situation, how to act, but I think the seminars help. I think it all helps. I think it also helps knowing if you get into a situation, you might be out of the league. Obviously that helps the players, as well, which that shouldn't be the only thing that steers the players away or steers us away from domestic violence. I would like to think that we want to respect women and uphold ourselves to a certain standard. But it definitely helps when the discipline is so rigorous when it comes to domestic violence.
BS: Recently you started up Valley View Entertainment, a music label. What was that process like and how difficult was it to set up?
BM: It was long. I think after we won the Super Bowl, I met a rapper named Nipsey Hussle. I met his people, and I knew my brother could sing. So I kind of just showed them my brother, like, 'Yeah, my brother can sing.' And I've always wanted to help my brother out. Even when I first got in the NFL, [I was like] 'Well, OK, I'm going to help my brother out, because I'm going to meet somebody.' I didn't know it was going to take me five years to meet somebody, but I met somebody and his people kind of showed me what I could do and what I should do. So I really did it for my brother because he can sing. He has a tremendous voice. And I'm living my dream, so I wanted him to live his. So I started this label, Valley View Entertainment. Me and my brother own it together. He actually just put an album out Aug. 2, and it's getting some pretty good buzz right now because he has some good music. It just makes me happy to help my brother out.
BS: Can you sing?
BM: No. I wish, man.
BS: How early when you were kids could you tell he had a future in singing?
BM: Actually I was really young. I was in church. He would always sing 'I Believe I Can fly' by R. Kelly. He'd sing that song. We were all saying, like, 'Man, he can sing.' He has a beautiful voice. And as he got older, he kind of just started mastering it and getting better. But when we got older, he kind of fell on tough times. You know, it's not easy making it in the industry. A lot of times it's who you know. We didn't have the funds, or he didn't really know anybody. So he kind of started to try to work and make ends meet. He was kind of going between jobs, losing a job, getting a job, losing it. And I could tell one day when my best friend was sick, we went to go see him, and I could tell he didn't have his passion. His passion about life or about what he was doing just kind of faded. I'm like, 'Yo, I feel like you need to get something and do something that you love.' I realized that the only way to do it is this way: getting back in the studio again, getting him singing again — because that's what his passion is, that's what he loves. For me to help him out and to see how well he's doing today is amazing.
BS: Is this what you envision doing after your NFL career?
BM: Yeah, absolutely. I think I have a couple different options. I used to not know, but when I came to Denver and I started doing well on the field, opportunities starting coming up off the field. I do a show at the ViewHouse a lot and they love me. I remember they actually, I think the producer texted me and said, 'You've got a job when you're done playing, if you want to do it.' I love TV, I love radio. I think that's what I want to do. But if my brother blows up and we can get this get this label going, that's another avenue. That's another thing I could do, another source of income. I'm thinking about all of that. Even things with the Nuggets — Tim Connelly, man, I'm his biggest fan and I think he's a fan of mine, as well. He talks to me a lot about when I'm done playing football, maybe being a scout or doing something with the NBA. And it's kind of crazy because, like, I play football; why would I be a scout in the NBA? But he says I'm an athlete so it kind of translates. I know what an athlete looks like. So I have a few options. And I love it. I'm kind of cultivating these relationships while I'm playing.
BS: Did the Connelly deal come out of the Paul Millsap recruiting this summer?
BM: No, I knew him before that. That's the reason why he invited me, because I knew him before that. We talked about scouting and going on a trip. I'd met him at his charity event, and so he's always been a good guy, a friend of mine. So when the opportunity came to go recruit Millsap, I said, 'Why not? Why not go take it and help a good guy out?' Tim Connelly's a great guy.