Bears quarterback Jay Cutler defended Brandon Marshall amid claims the wide receiver punched a woman at a New York nightclub days before heading to Chicago, saying, "I know deep down he’s a good guy."
The 24-year-old woman told police that Marshall hit her in the face during a dispute outside the club early Sunday, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
The controversy hung an immediate cloud over Marshall’s trade from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.
Cutler said Marshall, his former teammate in Denver, was upset both by the allegation and its timing.
"I talked to Brandon, and I think he was bummed about it, the perception and everything, of him getting to Chicago and that [accusation] being over his head," he told "The Waddle and Silvy Show" on WMVP-AM 1000 on Wednesday.
Cutler recognized that the Pro Bowl receiver is no stranger to off-the-field trouble but urged, "Let’s not judge him quite yet."
Cutler added, "I know he has a checkered past, and Brandon is the first one to stand up and admit to that. But I know deep down he’s a good guy. He made some mistakes, but going forward, I see nothing but bright things for the guy."
Marshall, who was set to be officially introduced by the Bears on Friday, made no reference of the controversy as he signed off from Miami with a message to the Dolphins early Thursday.
"Before I head to Chicago and start the next step of my journey. I would like to say thank you Dolphins, and to my teammates," he tweeted. "I love you guys and the bond that was made last year will NEVER be broken. God Bless #phinsup."
Bears general manager Phil Emery confirmed Wednesday both teams were aware of the allegations against Marshall before signing off on the trade, which saw Miami receive two third-round draft picks in exchange for the veteran wideout.
A lawyer for Marshall told the Post that the alleged fight Sunday did not involve Marshall or his friends.
"While attempting to leave to avoid the melee [Marshall’s wife] was struck in the face by a thrown bottle. She suffered serious injury," the lawyer said. "While attempting to leave and take his wife to the hospital, the mayhem continued outside. Mr. Marshall is hoping to assist authorities in regards to this matter."
The melee came less than a year after Marshall was rushed to a Florida hospital after his wife allegedly stabbed him.
Marshall, who has been arrested at least six times, was involved in a New Year’s Eve 2006 fight in Denver that led to the death of Broncos teammate Darrent Williams in a drive-by shooting.