Bobby Bowden replaced Carlen during Marbury’s stay and the two did not get along, Marbury eventually opting to leave WVU and head to Canada, a decision that he would regret.
“It was very confusing for me at the time. If I had known, or had had better guidance, I would have stayed and finished school,” he once admitted to John Antonik of the WVU sports information office.
Living in Canada was fine with Marbury, but he decided to try getting back into American football after being little used in the 12-man, three-down Canadian game, only to suffer a couple of setbacks. At 24, his career was over.
He drifted into drugs, spending some time in prison, time enough for him to begin to understand what life really was
about. He earned a degree, then a master’s degree, went to work at Fairmont State and had things going his way when the sky fell in.
He was told he had terminal cancer.
There was the original anger and disbelief, the denial and then the will to fight back. His old high school friend and teammate, Saban, contacted him, set him with a doctor’s appointment at a specialist in Birmingham, who could only confirm the diagnosis and the treatment he was following.
He remembers the conversation with Saban well, about how Saban told him he would set this up to get him a second opinion.
“Second opinion? I haven’t paid for the first one, yet,” he cracked.
Marbury was facing a difficult world in which to exist, one with a heavy weight on his back and dark cloud over his head.
“You know,” he said, “you don’t need friends when you are on top. It’s when you hit rock bottom, that’s when you need friends.