Broncos News Briefs - Sunday, June 5

With the spotlight on the Denver Broncos signing of wide receiver Jerry Rice, rookie running back Maurice Clarett has been able to concentrate on learning rather than answering questions. Also in today's news - wide receiver Rod Smith says he's not put off by talk of Rice's leadership role.

Spotlight off Clarett for now - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
06/04/2005 - Broncos rookie running back Maurice Clarett has become a forgotten young man, at least for th e time being. That's fine with him. The controversial third- round draft choice was one of the biggest stories of the NFL draft. But with the Broncos holding offseason practices behind closed doors the past three weeks, there has been no chance for outsiders to judge Clarett's physical conditioning or football progress. Plus, the spotlight-hogging addition of legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice to the roster has allowed the former Ohio State star to quietly go about the business of learning Denver's thick playbook.

Sapp an example of survival of unfittest - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
06/04/2005 - There is no cheering in the press box. But every once in a while, I sure am tempted. Case in point: last season, in Oakland, at halftime of the Broncos' 31-3 victory over the Raiders. That's when former Broncos running back Reuben Droughns - one of the good guys in the game - stood up to Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp - one of the game's biggest prima donnas. "I told him he was washed up," Droughns said after pounding the Raiders for 176 yards. "That's what really got him." Droughns isn't the only one who thinks Sapp - a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who once was considered the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL - is a dinosaur.

Number not up for Smith - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
06/04/2005 - Rod Smith broke his silence about Jerry Rice on Friday, speaking as if he were the charter member of the Rice fan club. For those who thought there might be some controversy regarding the No. 80, relax, there was none of that, either.

Alexander left wanting - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
June 4, 2005 - When most of the football world last saw Roc Alexander, he was slumped in a chair inside the RCA Dome, blood on his left knee where a patch of skin used to be, bruised both in body and spirit. For the better part of a playoff afternoon this past January, he found himself in the front row, taking his lumps in the league's classroom of experience. "Oh, yeah, I remember sitting in that chair," Alexander said. "Anytime you get beat like that, I took it all upon me. That's what you've got to do, take it upon yourself. I'm not going to say I was a rookie or that's the position I play or anything like that. That's what I feel I have to do, take it upon myself to make me better and stronger. You can't hide. I'm not gonna hide."

Smith 86s talk of giving up 80 - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
June 4, 2005 - Seems most everybody interested in the comings and goings of the Denver Broncos was talking about who will wear No. 80 for the team - except the player who currently wears it, Rod Smith, and the player who had worn it for the first 20 years of his career before coming to Denver, Jerry Rice. "You guys (the media) talked about it," Smith said Friday. "I never talked about it, (Rice) never talked about it, (coach) Mike (Shanahan) never talked about it. To be honest with you, it was never an issue. (Rice) never brought it up. We still haven't talked about it now."

NFL's All Shark-Jumping Team - - Andrew Perloff
Friday June 3, 2005 - How odd does Jerry Rice look in a No. 19 Broncos jersey? Somewhere between Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform and Willie Mays as a Met. Rice looked weird in a Seahawks jersey but at least he was still No. 80. As several pundits have pointed out recently, Rice is in serious danger of jumping the shark with his 20-year career. The television metaphor, trying to resuscitate a dying show with a major change (aka, Fonzie jumping over a shark literally in Happy Days), fits well for aging NFL players and teams. And yes, I am aware the term jumping the shark actually jumped the shark itself about three years ago. If ever a team jumped, it's the '05 Broncos.

From One Veteran to Another - - Andrew Mason
Friday, June 3, 2005 - Rod Smith respects Jerry Rice; he has for his entire receiving life, and made it a goal to do in the AFC what Rice did in the NFC when the longtime Bronco first donned an orange No. 80 jersey in 1995, his first year on the active roster following a one-year practice-squad apprenticeship. "A friend of mine we were sitting at home talking and I told him what number I had," Smith said, recalling a moment from 10 years ago. "He (said), 'You know what? You've got to go be the Jerry Rice of the AFC.' That's something that's been in the back of my mind for 11 years, because he was the standard in the entire NFL and he was in the NFC so I wanted to be able to duplicate those things." Lofty goals to be sure, but Smith has done the number proud, becoming the Broncos' all-time leader in receptions, receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns while winning two Super Bowls -- just one short of the three Rice has to date.

Team Camp Day 3: Clarett in the Shadows - - Andrew Mason
Friday, June 3, 2005 - For barely more than a month, Maurice Clarett was the focal point of attention at Dove Valley. From the moment the Broncos drafted him in the evening hours of April 23 through his first quarterback-camp practices at Dove Valley, the third=round pick's ongoing development stood poised as the signature story of Denver's hectic offseason. Then the Broncos began discussing contract terms and eventually agreeing to a deal with Jerry Rice. The cameras that were following Clarett's every move during the 10 minutes of practice open to the media for observation and compiling video moved on to other subjects -- Broncos receivers, quarterbacks and then on to Rice himself when he made his practice debut Wednesday.

TRunning Backs Coach Bobby Turner Answers Your Questions -
Friday, June 3, 2005 - For the last 10 seasons Bobby Turner has been the caretaker of the Broncos running backs. Under his watch Denver has had a 1,000-yard rusher in every season except for 2001. Five players have crossed the four-digit plateau with Terrell Davis achieving the milestone four times, including his 2,008-yard effort in 1998. Most recently it was Reuben Droughns, who gained 1,240 yards last year. The other three players to reach this standard are Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Clinton Portis. Heading into 2005, Anderson is the only holdover of this group, but that is not to say there are no more names with the potential to be added to Denver's list of 1,000-yard runners. Tatum Bell showed flashes down the stretch of 2004.Quentin Griffin opened last season with an electrifying two-touchdown, 156-yard effort against the Chiefs before he was slowed by injuries. In the offseason the club added former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne and it drafted former Ohio State Buckeye Maurice Clarett. Brandon Miree has worked his craft in NFL Europe and Kris Briggs and Cecil Sapp have remained in Denver to participate in the club's offseason workout and conditioning program. As usual, Denver will have a stable of backs that it can turn to as training camp for the 2005 season looms. With the team's quarterback camp complete and its team camp underway, Turner took time to answer your questions about the running backs on this year's squad.

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