Sure, he struggled in limited duty in '03, completing just 53 of 103 passes for 442 yards, with two touchdowns and five interceptions. But he admitted it took time to feel comfortable back on the football field again after being away from the game for more than two years. And more than ever, he knows this is his last shot at making it.
He'll get a push from free-agent pickup Mike Quinn, but Quinn will need time to learn Denver's system.
Ditto for rookie Bradlee Van Pelt, a seventh-round pick out of Colorado State. Though a fan favorite, he'll likely have to beat out fellow rookie Matt Mauck for the chance to be on Denver's developmental squad.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
--The Broncos are looking to improve upon two defensive stats from last year- sacks and interceptions.
The Broncos were even worse in interceptions - with just nine in '03. With teams throwing away from Bailey, second-year starter Lenny Walls will have a chance to prove he doesn't have hands of stone.
--John Elway played host to his annual celebrity golf tournament this weekend, but at a pre-tournament banquet it was hard for him to keep his emotions in check as a highlight film previewing his Hall of Fame enshrinement was shown.
QUOTE TO NOTE "I didn't expect it to be easy. It's one step at a time. I'll have hard days, hard weeks and maybe a hard couple of years. But I know once I understand everything, I can just go play football." - Rookie quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt on making the transition from Colorado State to the pros.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: FB Reuben Droughns; OG Ben Hamilton; TE Patrick Hape; DE Reggie Hayward; CB Kelly Herndon; TE/LS Mike Leach; LB Johnny Rutledge; CB Jimmy Spencer; LB Donnie Spragan; LB Jashon Sykes; CB Scott Turner; LB Al Wilson; S Chris Young.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: CB Champ Bailey; TE Byron Chamberlain; DE Marco Coleman; DT Luther Elliss; OT Cornell Green; RB Garrison Hearst; WR Willie Jackson; DE Raylee Johnson; S John Lynch; QB Mike Quinn; TE O.J. Santiago; CB Reggie Stephens; TE Jed Weaver.
PLAYERS LOST: DE Bert Berry; QB Steve Beuerlein; LB Keith Burns; WR Chris Cole; DT Daryl Gardener; LB Ian Gold; OG Steve Herndon; WR Ed McCaffrey; CB Deltha O'Neal; RB Clinton Portis; OT Ephraim Salaam; TE Shannon Sharpe.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: WR Triandos Luke.
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