Denver Broncos Hot Topics - Sunday, May 7

Denver Broncos wide receiver Ashley Lelie has stayed away from the team's workouts and could hold out of training camp and regular-season games if he is not traded.

If Ashley Lelie holds out this season, Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith said he won't criticize him for it.

Lelie, who was a starter opposite Smith the past two seasons, is unhappy with his role in the offense and can be a free agent after this season. He has stayed away from the team's workouts and could hold out of training camp and regular-season games if he is not traded.

Smith said he had spoken to Lelie about his dissatisfaction and potentially staying away from the off-season workouts, but he said Lelie had to make the best decision for himself.

"I think it would be a waste of his talent to not be on the football field during football season, but it's his business and he gets to make those business decisions for him and his family, and I can't knock that," Smith said.

Lelie wants to be a No. 1 receiver, and he probably won't be a starter if he plays for the Broncos this season. The team acquired Javon Walker from the Green Bay Packers during the NFL draft and if Walker has recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last season, he is the likely starter opposite Smith.

Smith said he wasn't upset with Lelie for wanting to be the No. 1 receiver, a spot he has held in Denver for many years. Smith said when he and Ed McCaffrey were teammates he considered himself the second receiver. But both players put up good numbers on successful teams.

Smith said that's why he couldn't figure out why the distinction of being a No. 1 receiver was so important.

"You never heard me say anything about it," Smith said. "Because that's not important to me. What's important to me is winning football games."

PLAYER NOTES

--Receiver Javon Walker is expected to report to the Broncos' off-season workout program on May 8. He is still rehabilitating a knee injury that cost him most of his 2005 season.

The Broncos checked out Walker's knee before they traded for him, and said he is coming along well. They won't push him hard in the off-season so he is ready for the start of training camp. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he thinks Walker will be full speed for camp.

--Denver finally signed linebacker Nate Webster to a one-year contract. Webster played only four games the past two seasons with Cincinnati because of knee problems. The Broncos think Webster can be a versatile backup at linebacker, something they were lacking.

"He's healthy," Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said. "He'll be good to go."

--The Broncos agreed to terms with undrafted free agent running back Mike Bell from Arizona hours after the draft. Denver didn't draft a running back and doesn't have a lot of depth at the position so Bell will have a chance to compete for a roster spot.

"He's absolutely thrilled about it," Bell's agent Steve Feldman said. "It's a great opportunity for him.

--Denver brought in six undrafted free agents to go with their seven draftees: Louisiana State outside linebacker Cameron Vaughn, Temple defensive tackle Antwon Burton, Notre Dame fullback Rashon Powers-Neal, North Carolina State wide receiver Brian Clark, Arizona running back Mike Bell and Ohio State defensive back Tyler Everett.

The Broncos did not draft a safety even though they need to groom a replacement for starters Nick Ferguson and John Lynch, but the team likes Everett and he could compete for a spot.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--S Chris Young (not tendered as RFA) was injured last season, but he was a promising player and still could return.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
--WR Charlie Adams had a decent season as Denver's third receiver and will be back.
--LB Louis Green is a good special teams player who fills a role for the Broncos.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Sam Brandon: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
--LB Keith Burns: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Patrick Chukwurah: UFA; terms unknown.
--RB Ron Dayne: UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, $750,000 SB.
--LS Mike Leach: UFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--OT Matt Lepsis: Potential UFA; $25M/4 yrs, SB unknown.
--DT Demetrin Veal: ERFA; terms unknown.
--DT Gerard Warren: UFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--DE Kenard Lang: FA Browns; $5.9M/3 yrs, $900,000 RB; 2006 cap: $1.9M.
--WR Javon Walker: Trade Packers.
--LB Nate Webster: UFA Bengals; $1.505M/2 yrs, $200,000 SB; 2006 cap: $685,000.
PLAYERS LOST
--RB Mike Anderson (released).
--DE Marco Coleman (retired).
--DT Monsanto Pope: UFA Jets; $625,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.
--DE Trevor Pryce (released).
--TE Jeb Putzier (released).
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.



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