01/24/2006 - The whipping probably will sting for a few more days, if not months. The Broncos had their seventh Super Bowl appearance in their sights. All they had to do was win one more game at home, where they had not lost in nine previous games this season, and the Super Bowl was theirs. So how come most of the money was bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers? In the end, the football world outside Denver was right. The Broncos weren't quite good enough. The Steelers came to Invesco Field at Mile High and despite 5,280 reasons why they weren't supposed to win here, they walloped the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC championship game Sunday. Oddly, had the Broncos gone to Indianapolis for their beating, few outside the Dove Valley walls would have been disappointed. The Broncos would have been proclaimed overachievers, a team
It's past, so what's the future? - Denver Post - Thomas George
01/24/2006 - Bill Cowher was gracious in victory. He stood near the middle of the Pittsburgh locker room after his team dumped Denver and discussed his respect for the Broncos, for the magnificent moment and for his owner, Dan Rooney. Cowher's eyes glistened when he spoke of giving Rooney the chance for his first Super Bowl victory in 26 years. Mike Shanahan was genial in defeat. Soon after my conversation with Cowher, Shanahan appeared in the Pittsburgh locker room searching for Cowher. The two met and shook hands, and Shanahan said, "Go do it." Do it, as in win Super Bowl XL. This does not always happen in the NFL, this type of sportsmanship between coaches. Not many losing coaches in a championship game visit winning coaches in their locker room afterward.
Free agents Nalen, Warren want to stay - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
01/24/2006 - Center Tom Nalen, who is a free agent, met with Denver coach Mike Shanahan on Monday and talked about the future. "He said he wanted me back," said Nalen, who has been with the Broncos since he was drafted in 1994. "It was good to hear, but we'll see." The Broncos have contacted Nalen's agent, and the sides likely will talk next month before free agency begins. Nalen said he'd prefer to stay in Denver. Nalen, left tackle Matt Lepsis and defensive tackle Gerard Warren will be the team's key free agents because their contracts end. "I believe we will keep our team intact," Denver general manager Ted Sundquist said. The team will spend the next few weeks restructuring several contracts.
Draft continues to blow past Denver - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
01/24/2006 - Will the Broncos get back to the AFC championship game in 2007? Depends on whether Mike Shanahan the GM gets the job done for Mike Shanahan the coach. The Broncos have the usual issues involving a handful of potential free agents, most notably Matt Lepsis and Tom Nalen. But Shanahan, armed with an extra No. 1 pick and a compensatory pick for losing Reggie Hayward, needs to hit it big in the draft. Frankly, it's something he hasn't done enough. Not compared to the team that just left Our Town with the AFC championship trophy in tow. Fact: Of the Steelers' 22 starters, 20 were draft picks or college free agents. Of the Broncos' starters, 13 fell under those categories.
Broncos would welcome T.O. - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
01/24/2006 - Tom Nalen sat in a near-empty Broncos locker room Monday at Dove Valley and pondered how Denver could improve in 2006. When asked about one of the most talented players expected to be available this offseason, Nalen didn't hesitate. "I'd take T.O.," said Denver's venerable center and a quiet leader. Nalen said controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens would succeed in Denver. Nalen - whose opinion was backed by other Broncos players Monday - said Denver's veteran-oriented roster could help Owens work his way back into the NFL. Nalen said the presence of fellow veteran receiver Rod Smith - the undisputed leader of the Broncos - would help Owens adjust quickly if he were to come to Denver.
It's a return plight - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
January 24, 2006 - No matter what they do next season, the scenario won't be set up any better for the Denver Broncos. They can exceed 13 wins, grab a No. 1 seed, win a playoff game and host another. All it means is that they've essentially broken even. It's equal parts loser's lament and daunting challenge as the franchise looks ahead to making another Super Bowl run. "Home field. Home playoff game. It's going to be hard," Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams said as players packed up their belongings Monday until April's off-season conditioning program. "But nothing in this league comes easy. I found that out this year. So I feel like every year it's going to be hard." Getting back to a conference championship, or possibly beyond, in consecutive years certainly isn't an impossible task.
Legwold: Broncos now must answer an age-old question - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 24, 2006 - For the Broncos, the football year officially ended Monday as players cleaned out their lockers and met with their coaches. And while summer's training camp is about possibilities, a boundless month of optimism about the coming football year, a playoff loss is something else. A playoff loss is about decisions. About how to get from here, here being a 34-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, to there, there being where the Steelers are going. And that would be Super Bowl XL in Detroit. And over the course of the coming weeks, there will be a lot of chatter about what comes next for the Broncos. As always, the guys who handle the ball the most will take the brunt of the criticism, especially quarterback Jake Plummer. But the Broncos' biggest off-season question is not him. It's not the offense. It's not the defense. It's not even whether an unlikely pursuit of Terrell Owens becomes anything more than filled time on the radio. The Broncos' biggest question is age.
Free agent Nalen mulls future with Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 24, 2006 — When Tom Nalen talks, reporters listen. And on Monday, less than 24 hours after Denver's championship dreams were dashed at the doorstep to Detroit, the attention was on the center during an E.F. Hutton moment as the Broncos cleaned out their lockers. Nalen — the last remaining link to the offensive lines that allowed Terrell Davis and John Elway to be named most valuable player in the franchise's two Super Bowl wins — walked off Invesco Field on Sunday and into the strange world of NFL free agency. The five-time Pro Bowl selection ended his traditional in-season media boycott and openly reflected on a future that won't include retirement this summer. Whether or not to re-sign Nalen will be one of Mike Shanahan's most important decisions this offseason.
Notebook: Still Some Work to Do - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - Many of Darrent Williams' teammates meandered about the locker room Wednesday morning, their garbage bags filled with the belongings of their lockers, cleaned out as they prepared for the offseason. Williams had a garbage bag, too, but it wasn't too full. Unlike most of his teammates, he won't be going anywhere else for a little while. "I'm not packing up everything," Williams said. "Just a few things." The pulled groin that Williams suffered against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 11 healed enough to allow him to play from off the bench in the Broncos' two postseason contests, but not enough to allow his rehabilitation and treatment to be complete. For the moment, Williams will remain in Denver.
Broncos fan not welcome in school - Boston Herald - Associated Press
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - BEAVER FALLS, Pa. — A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor during a midterm exam in his ethnicity class — for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor and take the test Friday — two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos, 34-17, in the AFC Championship Game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press yesterday. Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke. "If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what (the class) is designed to do," Kelly told The Denver Post. "It was silly fun. I can't believe he was upset." Vannoy was wearing a No. 7 Broncos jersey on Friday, because he is a fan of John Elway, the Broncos' retired Hall of Fame QB.
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