Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels decided to bench wide receiver Brandon Marshall for the regular-season finale after he was late to a scheduled therapy session with the Denver medical staff for treatment of a hamstring injury the team already believed he was exaggerating, according to multiple team sources.
Both Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler have been advised they will not be permitted on the sideline or in the locker room when the Broncos play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a game with playoff implications.
The Broncos sent Marshall for an MRI on his hamstring after he complained of the injury during Wednesday's practice. According to team sources, the test indicated that Marshall's hamstring was healthy.
The latest showdown between the head coach and the Pro Bowl receiver actually began the week before when Marshall excused himself from practice, complaining the cold weather was making it difficult for him to breathe.
Then, as the team reviewed tape of its loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, in which Marshall dropped several passes, McDaniels mentioned that certain plays had to be made. Marshall apparently felt he was being unfairly singled out for criticism.
According to Broncos sources, the problems with Marshall and Scheffler came after team leaders including Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Kyle Orton, DJ Williams and Daniel Graham all met with McDaniels on Monday and encouraged him to take a hardline approach in preparing the team to finish the season against the Chiefs.
That development, combined with a home loss to the Raiders, compelled McDaniels to emphasize the need for accountability in a full team meeting Wednesday. It was later that day when Marshall complained about his hamstring.
Scheffler was presumably demoted to the scout team after he was overheard telling teammates that he couldn't wait for Denver's season to end.