Sports

Broncos' Marshall, McDaniels at it again

Just when they finally patched things up, Brandon Marshall and Josh McDaniels are back to square one, and another reconciliation appears farfetched.

McDaniels announced Friday he’s benching Marshall, his Pro Bowl wide receiver, for the team’s pivotal season finale at home against Kansas City on Sunday.

“Our word for the week has been accountability. And we’re looking to put the 45 guys on the field on Sunday that want to play together, want to help us try to win and qualify for the playoffs,” McDaniels said. “... And anybody that showed any indifference to that, we’ll play without them.”

Marshall suggested he couldn’t have played anyway after pulling his right hamstring at practice this week.

McDaniels, meanwhile, insinuated that Marshall was exaggerating the extent of his injury and was unaccountable to the team.

“There’s a number of players that are going to play on Sunday with things that are much more difficult to deal with than what he has,” McDaniels said.

“… And this isn’t about sending a message, it’s about fielding a team that wants to go out there and win and give us the best opportunity to do that.”

The Pro Bowl receiver responded by noting McDaniels never played in the NFL and hinting he might be getting called out by his coach because the Broncos’ season is unraveling.

Since a sizzling 6-0 start, the Broncos have gone 2-7.

“I don’t think Coach ever played in the NFL, so for my hamstring to be feeling the way it felt, it’s tough for me to go out there and expect to play at a high level,” Marshall said. “I’ve battled through a whole lot of injuries before. I played the whole year last year with a tear in my hip. So, I don’t think my toughness is in question here.”

Panthers further depleted

Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (sprained left ankle) is doubtful, and fellow running back Jonathan Stewart (sore left Achilles’ tendon) questionable for the Panthers’ season finale against New Orleans.

Stewart is a former star at Timberline High School in Lacey.

Meanwhile, receiver Steve Smith was placed on injured reserve after breaking his left forearm in a win over the New York Giants last Sunday. Smith is the 12th player to go on IR for the injury-plagued Panthers.

Extra points

The Jacksonville Jaguars, long shots to make the playoffs, will be without three starters – receiver Torry Holt (hand), tight end Marcedes Lewis (concussion) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) – for their season finale at Cleveland. … Linebacker Nic Harris became the 19th Buffalo Bills player put on injured reserve list after he sustained a knee injury against Atlanta last weekend.

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