ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—When Denver Broncos All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady suffered a season-ending ACL tear in OTAs, rookie tackle Ty Sambrailo suddenly became one of the most important players on the roster. Prior to Clady’s injury, many expected Sambrailo to spend his rookie campaign learning the ins and outs of the NFL at the less vulnerable right tackle position. Instead, he’ll be thrown into the fire and given the unenviable task of protecting 39-year-old Peyton Manning’s blind side.
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On Monday, as Sambrailo and his fellow rookies reported to their first ever NFL training camp, the Colorado State alum spoke about what he learned during offseason conditioning, his relationship with Peyton Manning, and whether or not he’s ready to play left tackle.
“Both are obviously great players and they're great teachers as well,” Sambrailo said, “They've helped me kind of correct some mistakes and kind of go through their thought process on why they do what they do, when they key stuff or they see areas and try to take advantage—just stuff I can work on like that. It helps to talk to a couple good guys like that.”
Miller and Ware aren’t Sambrailo’s only teachers. The 23-year-old has also been working under the tutelage of another veteran star. Five-time MVP Peyton Manning has a keen interest in Sambrailo’s development. Sambrailo says Manning’s particular style of encouragement has been a great tool for him so far in his young NFL career.
“He's been good and a good guy to talk to,” Sambrailo said, “Obviously, you don't want to upset him at all. I’m just trying to do everything right all the time and he's been good kind of helping me, asking me on protections what I was doing and what I was looking at, stuff like that.”
However, there remains a palpable sense of uncertainty at Dove Valley about whether Sambrailo is really ready to take on the enormous responsibility of playing left tackle. For his part, Sambrailo says he’s keeping an even keel.
“I'm just taking this whole thing one day at a time,” Sambrailo said, “I don't think I can look ahead right now and say, 'This is going to be the best season anyone's ever seen,’ or anything like that. I'm just going to kind of take it one step at a time. I always try to be the greatest I can be and I'm going to go out and do that.”
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