Richardson told reporters: “The locker room is a whole lot easier to get along with now,” Asked to elaborate, he smiled and said, “Man oh man, y’all are thirsty. Let’s just say I’ve got 15 reasons why it’s better.”
Fifteen is Marshall’s jersey number. He wore it with the Jets and is doing the same after being cut and signing a two-year deal with the Giants this offseason. It wasn’t a surprise for Marshall to hear criticism coming from Richardson specifically. They had their run-ins last year, and it had become public. But, he said, it still hurt somewhat to hear it again.
“I’m human, so,” Marshall explained. “Like I said, the first couple years of my career, more than the first couple years, really the first five years, I wasn’t responsible with the platform that we have.”
Now, Marshall says, he believes he’s turned around his life. He doesn’t believe there will be a problem with the Giants.
“Nah. I’m not a perfect guy, but I worked extremely hard to get in the position I am today,” he said. “The first couple years of my career was rough, and a lot of it I did myself. I hurt myself. And since that point, once I figured things out, I’ve worked extremely hard to be a better person and work extremely hard to be a better teammate, a better father, a better husband, and I’m proud of where I’m at today.
“I wake up every single day trying to make a positive impact in any room that I step into.”
Marshall, 33, is now the veteran in the Giants locker room. Coach Ben McAdoo called him a breath of fresh air on Thursday and admired his work ethic. It’s possible they could even be looking for him to provide a positive influence on the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. General manager Jerry Reese spoke after the season about Beckham needing to grow up and take a long, hard look in the mirror.
Marshall admitted he’s done that in the past. And the beef with Richardson — it’s nothing new.
“You know what? That is the third or fourth time we’re going down that path. Like I said, it was a tough year for us. In the National Football League, it’s not unique.
“There are 31 teams in that same position trying to fight to get to a Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl. It didn’t happen for us,” Marshall said. “We had high hopes coming off that first year we were all together in 2015. It kind of blew up in our face. So we all were disappointed.”
The Jets finished 5-11 last season.
The heated altercation between Marshall and Richardson became a turning point in the season, players said. The feud continued throughout the season and might have fractured the locker room.
In December, Marshall publicly chided Richardson for posting a profane Snapchat video from the locker room before a game, and Richardson responded by ripping Marshall to reporters after a Christmas Eve loss to the New England Patriots.
Veteran Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison is a former teammate of Richardson with the Jets. He offered some advice for Richardson on Thursday. “You all have to keep the mic away from Sheldon,” Harrison told the media. “Sheldon, get away from the damn microphone.