It was sunny and humid today at Dove Valley, a welcome change from the record downpour which caused practice to be moved to the Dome several times and postponed "The International" PGA golf tournament, held at Castle Pines, for a day.
The crowd of fans at Broncos training camp was noticeably larger and more vocal, commenting after each snap, spectacular catch, or mistake on field. Mistakes were few and far between for running backs Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell as they ran through the various drills.
Anderson found a way to run through the line repeatedly despite the heckling from the defense standing along the sidelines. He just kept on doing what the Broncos have come to expect from the veteran. His groin injuries obviously history, he looked like the Anderson of old when he was named offensive rookie of the year, rushing for an astounding 1,487 yards during his first year in the NFL.
Soft spoken and endearingly polite, I jokingly asked the veteran what it felt like to be the "old timer" among the backs competing for a spot on the Bronco roster, with Maurice Clarett barely twenty-one, (he turned twenty-one in October), Ron Dayne, Tatum Bell and Quentin Griffin in their mid twenties, and he laughed and said "he didn't feel like the old timer and was just enjoying being out on the field and feeling 100% again."
Asked about the long rehab and whether he had chatted with Maurice about his groin injury, he said "no I haven't had a chance to talk with him about it so I don't know how serious it is, but the main thing is we have the best trainers in the world and if you just listen to them and do what they tell you to do, you'll get better. First comes the physical healing, but the hardest healing the real healing is in your mind. Keeping your head in the game, your mind totally focused at all times, and knowing that you can get back in there without fear of re-injuring yourself. That's the hardest part."
Speaking of injury, Quentin Griffin seemed a shadow of himself at camp, where in 2004 he established himself as the starting running back before relinquishing that role to Reuben Droughns. Returning a kick against Cincinnati on Monday Night Football, he tore the ACL in his right knee and ended his 2004 season early. Anderson said, "that's a
lot more serious injury and the coaches and trainers are taking it real slow and easy with Q."
Mike looked terrific today and when complimented on his play, smiled and commented, "It's real nice to be back. I just love coming to camp, it's great out here!" Let's hope for the team and the fans sake, Mike stays injury free and can contribute like days-of-old to a winning 2005 Denver Bronco season.
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