Teammates back Plummer

Denver Broncos players rallied to support Jake Plummer a day after his "bird" episode during the Miami Dolphins game. Also in today's news - injured running back Tatum Bell may play against Kansas City. Cornerback Willie Middlebrooks (in photo) is out for the season, but defensive lineman Trevor Pryce hopes to return.

Plummer's passion plays - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - No one in the Broncos organization is condoning Jake Plummer's actions Sunday in response to a heckling fan, but no one is condemning him. With assurances from a contrite Plummer that he will not behave that way again, the team is moving on and chalking up the incident to Plummer being his competitive self - and briefly losing his cool. Many teammates supported Plummer, who was not available for comment Monday, and said they appreciate his intensity.

Looking for tough stuff - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Mike Shanahan would love to go into Kansas City on Sunday armed with a wicked 1-2 punch featuring running backs Tatum Bell and Reuben Droughns. Whether the Broncos coach gets his wish depends on how much pain Bell can endure and how many yards Droughns has left in his weary body. Bell suffered a third-degree shoulder separation Sunday in Denver's 20-17 victory over Miami. Initial indications were Bell could be out for the season, but there's a chance he'll play against the Chiefs.

Pryce eyes Chiefs for return to field - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Trevor Pryce is not ruling out a return Sunday in Kansas City, and he's feeling good about a Christmas Day return at Tennessee. Nearly three months into his rehabilitation from back surgery, he is just looking to get back on the field. "That Tennessee game could be the day," Pryce said, "but I just want to get back this season. I really think I will. I might try to force the matter soon." The defensive lineman has said he is waiting for a nerve in his lower back to start "firing up." Pryce, who returned to practice on a limited basis last week, said he is feeling stronger but is not there yet.

In a holding-on pattern - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 14, 2004 - Reuben Droughns has lost his grip on the football too much for his coach's liking, but the Denver Broncos running back maintained his tenuous grasp on the starting job - for now. Asked Monday if Droughns' head was down after two more fumbles against the Miami Dolphins, Mike Shanahan didn't blink before shooting back, "He better worry about me losing confidence." Droughns' response Sunday to those difficulties was nearly as immediate as the man dishing out his playing time.

Plummer likely to reach into pocket - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 14, 2004 - If history is any guide, not only did Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer's obscene gesture cause him some embarrassment Sunday, but it likely will cost him some money as well. Plummer, while sitting on the Broncos bench in the first quarter after throwing an interception, made a one-fingered obscene gesture to a heckling fan. Plummer was caught on network television making the gesture and, like many players in the past in similar circumstances, can expect a fine in the coming days. An NFL spokesman said Monday the league was reviewing Plummer's actions and had not yet made a decision about a fine.

After lengthy recovery, Pryce eager to play - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer And Jeff Legwold
December 14, 2004 - Odds are "50-50" that Trevor Pryce will make his long-awaited return to the Denver Broncos lineup Sunday. That figure, verbalized by Pryce on Monday, comes after the three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman has been declared as "out" on the injury report for 12 consecutive weeks. AdvertisementPryce practiced sparingly for three consecutive days leading up to Sunday's 20-17 victory against the Miami Dolphins. He noted to the media and trainer Steve Antonopulos an improvement in a nerve in his right leg that has prevented him from pushing off fully since back surgery.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Arrowhead difficult place to find get-well tonic - Denver Post - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 14, 2004 - The Broncos have lived, though barely, to fight another day. It just so happens that day is Sunday, at Kansas City, where they have been, let's just say, less than stellar in Mike Shanahan's tenure. And though the Broncos have yet to show they consistently can slug it out in the season of Uglyball, a Sunday afternoon jaunt into Arrowhead Stadium presents some potholes for a team that can't afford any more jostling the rest of the way. Especially considering the Broncos have gone 2-7 in regular-season games there since Shanahan was hired in 1995.

Adams: Smith quietly nears another milestone - Rocky Mountain News - Sam Adams
December 14, 2004 - Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith does not like the limelight. Smith will tell the media time and time again that he doesn't care for the spotlight, adulation or notoriety. Regardless, it is time to shed some light on Smith's achievements. He could reach another milestone Sunday, needing six catches to become the 20th player in NFL history to have 700 career receptions.

Krieger: There's a time to flip this switch - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
December 14, 2004 - From my radio, the deep community concern about Jake's bird engulfed me. I began to weep for the children. I hadn't heard sanctimony like this since the last time Bud Selig held a news conference. AdvertisementOddly, there was barely a peep about it in my e-mail, which made me weep some more. Apparently, the people most offended can't read or write. Let me tell you something straight out, and if you don't like it, feel free to grab a crayon and make your mark on a piece of construction paper: Some people just flat need to be flipped off.

Banged-up backfield hampers Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 14, 2004 - During Sunday's win over Miami it looked like Mike Shanahan was about to face the kind of problem in the backfield coaches like to have — too much of a good thing. Reuben Droughns became the fifth Denver Broncos running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season — eclipsing the mark in only his ninth start — since Shanahan took over in 1995. And after a couple of early fumbles by the starter, talented rookie Tatum Bell came in and rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns on only 17 carries (7.2 yards per) to help the Broncos escape with a 20-17 win over the Dolphins at Invesco Field.

Cornerbacks in short supply - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 14, 2004 - Peyton Manning is about to break Dan Marino's NFL single-season record for touchdown passes and is the obvious choice for the league's most valuable player award. The Indianapolis quarterback can thank Denver's defense, which allowed him to complete 22 of 26 passes for 377 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions — a perfect passer rating of 158.3 — in the Colts' 41-10 playoff win last year, for getting him started on this statistical roll for the ages. The Broncos used the excuse that safety Nick Ferguson and cornerback Kelly Herndon were injured during that game, which left them too shorthanded to handle Marvin Harrison and Co. That's why Champ Bailey and John Lynch were signed in the offseason, to make sure defensive coordinator Larry Coyer had more depth with which to work. Well, don't look now but Denver, which could be headed for the RCA Dome again should it make the playoffs again as a wild card, is running out of cornerbacks.

Plummer's Teammates Come to His Defense - - Andrew Mason
Monday, December 13, 2004 - It didn't take Jake Plummer long after Sunday's 20-17 win over the Miami Dolphins to begin apologizing for raising a middle finger on the sidelines following a first-period interception. Before Plummer made his public apology at a postgame press gathering in the Broncos locker room, he sought out President/CEO Pat Bowlen and Head Coach Mike Shanahan to apologize for the incident. "I didn't even know what had happened until he came into the locker room," Shanahan said. "(Plummer) said, 'Hey, I made a bad mistake. I lost my cool, I lost my composure. I had a heckler get to me. I apologize to (Broncos President and CEO) Mr. (Pat) Bowlen, and everybody in this room. I lost it, and it won't happen again.'"

Monday Notebook: Bell 'Day-to-Day' With Shoulder Injury - - Andrew Mason
Monday, December 13, 2004 - To look at Tatum Bell, one wouldn't know that he separated his shoulder a day earlier. For one thing, his arm is not in a sling, as one would expect it to be after suffering a third-degree shoulder separation. His shoulder didn't even have any tape on it as he ventured through the locker room on Monday afternoon. Not only was a sling not present, it wasn't even considered after he injured the shoulder on the Broncos' second possession of the third period in the 20-17 win over Miami. "We didn't even talk about a sling," said Bell, who ran for 123 yards and scored twice before falling to injury. "I didn't even ask for one, and they didn't say anything to me about one." With proper protection, Bell feels as if he can play at Kansas City.

First-Day Jitters - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - Jason Baker eventually came through in his first game for the Broncos by drilling a kickoff high and deep to the Miami 5-yard-line with just 2:55 left in the game. But until that point, Baker's day was a struggle. Baker's first three kickoffs in blue and orange were anything but extraordinary, not rising very high off the ground and eventually squibbing their way towards Miami kickoff returner Wes Welker.

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