Fans back in the stands, DT back on the field at Broncos training camp
By Johnny Hart
Running back C.J. Anderson noticed the more than 4,000 orange and bluers down at the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters … err the UC Health Training Center … during Friday’s late-morning practice.
It wasn’t hard to notice the throngs of fans who showed up Day One of Denver’s training camp; by some reports, they started lining up in the middle of the night.
“They give us the energy to get us to go when we’re tired. They’re clapping and giving us the energy we need,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to love Broncos Country.”
It had been two years since fans could watch camp, missing out last year as the team built it’s new indoor facility.
It had only been an offseason since Demaryius Thomas saw the field at the team’s facility, but Friday also served as a welcoming back for the Broncos wide receiver.
Two weeks after inking a five-year, $70 million deal, DT hit the field
Head coach Gary Kubiak said Thomas had some catching up to do mentally, and that he’d be eased in physically.
Thomas only participated in the first 20 minutes of practice before moving off to the side to work with Broncos strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson.
Kubiak, who was hired in January and has not coached Thomas yet, also said he was wide-eyed when he first met the pass catcher.
“He was swimming. He's got a long way to go to catch up mentally. But boy, I'll be honest, I had no idea he was that big,” Kubiak said. “Remember now, I haven't seen him. But he is a big, good-looking guy.”
The club will also ease back defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who also missed much of the offseason while being investigated on claims of sexual child abuse.
No charges have been filed since the claim was filed tothe Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office in November.
Smith was excused from the team during much of the OTAs, but since has been allowed to participate in training camp.
“I really can't speak much on it, but I have faith in the process. I have faith that in the end, it's going to be alright,” Smith said. “I haven't heard a word. I don't have a timetable. I don't know how I should feel about a timetable. (I’ve) never been in a situation before, so I just have to trust the system.”
Smith will be excused from practice Saturday so he can attend a funeral. The rest of the team will be back at it at 10 a.m. for Day Two.