This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

Each month Mile High Sports Magazine sits down with an important figure in Colorado sports. This month Robin Carlin spoke with Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall, fresh off signing a new contract to stay in Denver for the next five seasons. Here’s what Marshall had to say…

When somebody tells you that you might not be cut out for the NFL, it’s tough because you’re getting rejected from the thing you want most in life. It’s rough because this is your dream. It’s your dream and you love this. It’s definitely tough. Also, anger sets in. I got a little upset and I tried to just channel all that.

[You’re thinking], “I should be proving them wrong, shining somewhere!” It was [revenge] leading the team in tackles, being regarded as one of the best linebackers in the league, and all those things – a Super Bowl championship! All those things help to put it right in [the] face [of the coach who cut me].

I attended OTAs because that’s just me, who I am as a person. I knew everything would work out. I wasn’t worried at all. Whether I did have to play out the contract or I didn’t, I knew that it was all going to work out. I’m going to be here and show my face and show that I’m dedicated to the team. I’m a dedicated leader.

Danny Trevathan wanted to stay here, and obviously I wanted him to stay here. We had a great rapport and were a great duo, so I felt like it was a tough free agency year. We had Von Miller, Malik Jackson, Brock Osweiler, as well. So I guess they felt like they had to make a decision. Maybe if it wasn’t that scenario, maybe they could’ve kept both of us.

First, [the organization] said, “We’re going to work on Von’s [contract] first.” And then after a while, they just said, “We’re going to start you, start your process.” Before that, I actually texted Von. I said, “Look man, you’re holding up my process. You’re holding me up.” Eventually, [the organization] said, “We’re just going to get Brandon done because [we] have enough room for all of [you].”

[With a new contract] I just try to do everything the same as far as playing. As far as being a leader, I’ve got to step that up, and I think that comes with the territory. I’m trying to take my leadership skills up another notch.

[The loose screw in my foot last season] definitely hurt. It was not easy. It hurt. It was annoying. At some point during the season it kind of subsided a little bit, but it always lingered. It never went away. It was tough, but I pushed through it.

This same defense was with Jack Del Rio, so I think [our success last season] was because Wade Phillips kept it simple for us. He kept it simple – it was more a “vanilla” defense, almost. It’s a little complicated, but not too complicated. Wade let us just run around and play and we had the talent to do it. There are little different intricacies and little things on defense that are different than what we played when we had Jack. Wade just brought a different style.

We blitzed with Del Rio, but it’s just different. We definitely blitzed for Wade. He’s going to blitz, but the blitzes aren’t as complicated. You’re not thinking as much. We blitz, we do different things, but with Del Rio, there’s a little more thinking.

I grew up a running backs fan, so I used to love Terrell Davis – love Terrell Davis. He was my favorite Broncos player; I’ve met him and I told him that. I told him he’s my favorite player.

I love Ray Lewis and I like how Ray played the game. He’s a leader; he’s one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game. I just loved watching him and how he did things. Obviously everybody’s different. I can’t be Ray, but I admire him. I met him in the offseason; he’s a very intense guy.

I admire LeBron James – the type of freak athlete he is and how he just dominates the game. I’ve definitely appreciated that. I met Kobe in July and he’s just the coolest dude and always has a big smile on his face.

I would have been happy to see Colin Kaepernick come to Denver. We went to college together; we’re friends.

I remember in college, I used to think Luke Kuechly was overrated until I went back and watched the bowl game where we (Nevada) beat him (Boston College). Man, he was really balling out there. That was my first and only bowl win. It was great.

I was very happy with my 90 rating on Madden.

To me, [winning the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award] meant that people see me in that light. They see me as a guy that has high integrity, high character, things like that. It’s just me being me. For them to recognize me for that, it’s great.

I’m not trying to be anybody other than who I really am.