Chicago Bears

Cutler defends Marshall’s character

CHICAGO – About nine hours passed between the Bears’ trade acquisition of Brandon Marshall and troubling allegations against the Pro Bowl receiver.

Reports emerged early Wednesday that Marshall, 27, was involved in a weekend altercation at a New York nightclub that allegedly left his wife and another woman injured. According to the New York Post, a 24-year-old woman alleged that Marshall punched her in the face and blackened her eye during a melee outside the nightclub.

Marshall could be questioned by police as well as NFL officials, according to reports.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler defended Marshall on Wednesday afternoon during an interview on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on WMVP-AM 1000. Marshall has been involved in several off-field controversies during the past six years and said last summer that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

“I talked to Brandon [on Tuesday], and I think he was bummed about it, the perception and everything, of him getting to Chicago and that [controversy] being over his head,” said Cutler, who was teammates with Marshall in Denver. “Let’s not judge him quite yet.

“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’s latest incident allegedly occurred about 4 a.m. Sunday. Less than 36 hours later, the Bears traded two draft picks to Miami in exchange for Marshall.

Bears general manager Phil Emery said he knew about the incident ahead of time.

“Both the Bears and Dolphins were aware of what occurred over the weekend,” Emery said in a statement released by the team. “We decided to move forward with the trade. We have high expectations for Brandon as a Bear.”

The Bears plan to introduce Marshall and free-agent acquisition Jason Campbell on Friday at Halas Hall.

Staying busy: The Bears signed former Atlanta Falcons kick returner Eric Weems to a three-year contract on the second day of free agency. They also re-signed tight end Kellen Davis to a two-year deal and re-signed quarterback Josh McCown to a one-year deal.

Weems, 26, was selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl as a kick returner and is seventh in the NFL in kick return yardage during the past five seasons. He is expected to complement Devin Hester in the return game and provide depth at wide receiver.

Davis, 26, caught 18 passes for 206 yards and five touchdowns as the Bears’ starting tight end last season. He has 28 catches for 300 yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons with the Bears, and his role could expand next season with Mike Tice as offensive coordinator.

McCown, 32, posted a 1-1 record as a starter for the Bears at the end of last season. He has thrown for 37 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in parts of nine NFL seasons and likely will compete with Nathan Enderle for the No. 3 quarterback job.

Bears bits: Several free agents reportedly visited the Bears on Wednesday, including running back Michael Bush, guard Anthony Herrera and cornerback Kelvin Hayden. Bush, 27, also has a visit scheduled with the Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN reported. … New Bears quarterback Jason Campbell will wear No. 2, the team announced.

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