The Denver Broncos kicked off Training Camp 2006 at Dove Valley Friday morning and as expected, a certain disgruntled receiver from Hawaii made good on his promise to become the teams' lone holdout.
Ashley Lelie, who apparently feels that the starting job should be handed to him on a silver platter, has given the team a trade me or else ultimatum, vowing to holdout as long as it takes, which in other words translates into as long as his money holds out.
New rules imposed this year allow the Broncos to fine Lelie $14,000 for each day he fails to show up at camp. Sitting out the entire camp would end up costing the receiver a whopping $308,000. Toss in the $100,000 bonus Lelie missed out on for not attending the voluntary offseason workout program and you've got nearly half-a-million dollars the four-year veteran's willing to gamble trying to prove a point.
Unfortunately the only point he's proven so far is stupidity.
It's simple, in order to be number one, you have to beat number one, and after coming off an unspectacular one-touchdown season in 2005, Lelie isn't even close.
Sadly, he's not even willing to make the effort.
– Tatum Bell reports to camp in the best shape of his career, but still faces a huge struggle to break into the top running back slot. Initial plans call for a tandem backfield shared with former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. Both Bell and Dayne had impressive runs through the first two days of camp, neither gaining a significant edge over the other. Rookie Mike Bell also turned head with some nice break away moves in the open field.
– Javon Walker is beginning to make his presence felt, snagging several inside slant passes during morning drills on Saturday. Walker, coming of a severe knee injury last season, could prove to be a perfect fit alongside Rod Smith, carrying the load in both long and short yardage passing situations. Others looking impressive early on include Darius Watts, rookie Brandon Marshall, David Terrell and David Kircus.
– Friday's hit of the day belonged to rookie free agent Antwon Burton, who leveled backup quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt, much to the dismay of head coach Mike Shanahan, who vowed it won't happen again. Burton had jumped off sides when the hit occurred.
– Jake Plummer continues to emerge as the teams' offensive leader. Focus this camp seems to be in finding his comfort level within the pocket and his ability to connect with second and third receivers. Bradlee Van Pelt remains ahead of rookie Jay Cutler in the number two slot, but both have had their moments in the spotlight. On the flip side both have looked like a deer in the headlights at certain times. Look for the Broncos to keep all three quarterbacks on the roster throughout the 2006 season.
– Players who were given the afternoon session off included Stephen Alexander, Champ Bailey, Courtney Brown, Ebenezer Ekuban, Ian Gold, Amon Gordon, Matt Lepsis, John Lynch, Tom Nalen, Gerard Warren and Al Wilson. Cooper Carlisle suffered a wrist injury and did not participate, although Mike Shanahan did not feel the injury was serious.
"Cooper is pretty tough so for him to not come to practice is always a concern, but talking to Greek (Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos) he didn't say that it was anything serious."
– Well over 1,000 fans attended Saturday's morning session. The afternoon session was far less crowded, prompting Mike Shanahan to jokingly ask the media what they were doing there.
– Following the afternoon session on Saturday the team announced the signing of free-agent tackle Adam Meadows to a three-year contract. Meadows (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) is in his eighth NFL season and most recently competed in Carolina's training camp in 2004 before spending the last two regular seasons out of the NFL.
Sunday's schedule calls for two sessions, first workout begins at 8:30 am and the second workout starts at 3:50 pm. All training camp session are open to the public and free parking is available in the lot adjoining the Broncos practice facility.
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Schon: News & Notes from Training Camp 2006
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