Broncos already a banged-up bunch early in training camp
AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos don’t put their full pads on until Tuesday but they’re already a banged-up bunch.
Newly signed receiver Corey “Philly” Brown is in concussion protocol after hitting his head in the weight room and when the Broncos put on shoulder pads for the first time Monday several players hobbled off.
“Football is played in pads, so to put the pads on and watch the guys bang a little bit is always fun,” coach Vance Joseph said. “For the running game, and obviously stopping the run, the pads are critical.”
Left tackle Garett Bolles and inside linebacker Brandon Marshall were among the casualties Monday.
“Garett Bolles took a shot to the chin. He’s being evaluated for a head injury,” Joseph said, adding that Marshall “had a minor wrist injury. He’s OK.”
Cornerback Marcos Rios sat out with a sore hip and tight end Jeff Heuerman sat out with a sore knee, which Joseph said was strictly precautionary.
The Broncos are also dealing with second-year wide receiver Carlos Henderson, who failed to report to training camp while dealing with what the team calls a family situation.
Although Joseph has said it’s up to Henderson whether his career will continue, several members of the organization are keeping in touch with their absent teammate.
“Lots of guys have called Carlos. (Wide Receivers) Coach Zach (Azzanni) has been calling him, I’ve been calling Carlos, his teammates have been,” Joseph said. “Obviously, he’s having some family issues he’s working through and it’s really his timeline.
“He can return any time he gets ready to return. It’s on him, but his guys are supporting him, the coaches are supporting him. So we’re looking forward to having him back.”
Henderson was a third-round draft pick out of Louisiana Tech last year but he missed his rookie season with a hand injury. He missed much of the offseason program this year with a pulled hamstring and is a long-shot to even make the 53-man roster if he does return.
Joseph said he has no timeline for Henderson to get back.
“We’ve had some conversations about other things than football. He’s not ready for football right now, so we’re not talking about football a lot,” Joseph said. “We’re doing a good job as a team of checking on him on a daily basis.”
Things should ratchet up overall Tuesday when the Broncos also wear their thigh pads.
“Any time we’re full pads, it’s like game day,” Joseph said. “Every pad’s on, mouth guard, chin straps buckled, so it’ll look different as far as what they’re wearing, but the practice shouldn’t look that much different as far as the physical part of it.”
Nose tackle Domata Peko, for one, appreciated finally getting to do some hitting in the trenches Monday.
“That what it’s about, you know? We don’t play without shoulder pads, so when you get them on that’s when you really get to get real physical and do your job,” Peko said. “Especially up front. In the trenches, you’ve got to have the pads on and feel that contact to see where you’re at and sharpen each other up.
“It was a good first day of shells today. They call it shells, and then full pads tomorrow, but in the trenches, every time we put the pads on it’s pretty much full pads. It felt good today.”
The Broncos will also be in full pads Wednesday.
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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