FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brandon Marshall took a swing at teammate Darrelle Revis during a chippy practice Friday in which the two New York Jets stars jawed at each other throughout an intense head-to-head battle on the field.
It culminated with a confrontation between plays. An incensed Marshall left the offensive sideline and walked about 20 yards to confront Revis, who was stationed at his cornerback position. They exchanged words, and Marshall immediately unleashed an open-handed slap at Revis, which didn't land.
The skirmish ended quickly. Team staffer Dave Szott, a former NFL offensive lineman, separated the two players. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa bear-hugged Marshall from behind and literally carried him away from the scene. There was no brawl, and practice proceeded.
The trash-talking got personal. At one point, Marshall yelled Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' name to Revis, bringing up perhaps the worst game of Revis' career. Revis was burned badly by Hopkins in a game last season.
Afterward, Marshall told reporters he swung at Revis because he was provoked. He said Revis took umbrage when he caught a pass on him in a one-on-one drill and taunted him with a first-down signal.
"He took that personal," Marshall said. "He said, 'You won't disrespect me again.'"
A short time later, Revis struck him in the face, according to Marshall.
"I beat him twice times in a row, and, on the third, he swung and hit me in the face," Marshall said. "Ever since then, it got really competitive. That came back up in that moment. I told him, 'Don't ever put your hands in my face again like that.' He kind of baited me to do it, and I did it. It kind of went too far, but there's a thin line between football and being a man."
Marshall admitted they "crossed that football line, but I can't let nobody slap me in the face." He also accused Revis of making personal comments that "went off the field."
"He kind of baited me to do it, and I did it. It kind of went too far, but there's a thin line between football and being a man."
Jets receiver Brandon Marshall on his scuffle with Darrelle Revis
From there, Revis dominated Marshall at the start of team drills, holding him without a catch on four targets. Marshall was furious after one pass break-up, cursing at a game official. He felt Revis should've been flagged for pass interference. Marshall redeemed himself by beating Revis twice, including a long touchdown reception. Marshall taunted Revis after the play, yelling at him from across the field.
"I just felt like the way he handled things in one-on-one is what you do to a rookie," Marshall said. "I'm going on year 11 and I've been super successful in this league, so I took it personal. But I appreciated it because it took my practice to a whole other level. I learned from it."
Marshall insisted it was an isolated incident, and that he and Revis are close friends, but fiercely competitive. Revis declined to speak with reporters. This was his first full practice since off-season wrist surgery. Coach Todd Bowles said he addressed it with the team, essentially telling the players that trash talking is accepted, but not punching.
"You're going to get pissed off in camp as a player. It's not charm school," Bowles told reporters. "They play football. Both of them got to where they were for making plays and not backing down. Neither player is going to back down. You like that about the competitiveness, you just have to keep it clean. For the most part, they did."
Bowles said he had no problem with Marshall taunting Revis with the reminder about his performance against Hopkins.
"No, you have to use any means necessary when you're on the field," he said. "They're going to get under your skin on Sunday. There the things [the public doesn't] hear on Sunday are a billion times worse than that. They've both been out there long enough, and they both have tools to get under each others' skin, especially when it gets chippy."
Marshall has a history of erratic behavior, most of it occurring early in his career when he played for the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. A few days ago, he punted a football over the bleachers after a poor performance by the offense. Afterward, he laughed it off, attributing it to his competitiveness.
Bowles said he's not worried about Marshall regressing to his old ways.
"I don't think it was an outburst," Bowles said of Marshall's actions toward Revis. "It was just two good players going at it, talking mess. Revis won some, and Brandon won some. It got chippy, but it's camp. It's supposed to be. … It's football. We're not here because of a beauty pageant. … We want them on the edge."
Curiously, Marshall lamented his curse at the official more than his behavior toward Revis. He praised Revis for being the best cornerback in the league, insisting there will be no ramifications.
"Yes, I'm pissed off right now and, yes, he's pissed off right now, but at the end of the day, we've got to move forward," Marshall said. "It may take a couple of hours. It can't go into the locker room. There's not going to be no brawl or anything like that."