Williams was shot and killed on Jan. 1. The players were blindsided again on Feb. 24 when running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after playing in a charity basketball game.
Most of the players participate in the off-season workouts. Gathering together as a group again was helpful.
"It's wonderful to be back, to be honest with you," cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "It's just a little bit of normalcy. It helps. To be around people to know you cared about the individual just as much as you did, it's nice."
The Broncos won't easily get past the deaths of two 24-year-old players this off-season. Many players attended both funerals.
Players said there wasn't a whole lot of conversation about Williams or Nash in the locker room, but some reminders. Many players have pictures in their lockers of their teammates who passed away.
Cornerback Champ Bailey was the starting cornerback opposite Williams the past two years, and said he is still having a tough time coping with his death.
"We're going to move on, but we'll never forget what he meant to us," Bailey said. "We'll honor him the best way we can."
--The Broncos and punter Todd Sauerbrun agreed to a 1-year contract that is full of incentives. However, the Patriots negotiated a right of first refusal into Sauerbrun's contract last year, and can match the Broncos' offer.
Sauerbrun was with the Broncos in 2005, but was suspended four games last off-season for violating the league's policy on banned substances. He said he tested positive for ephedra. When Sauerbrun's suspension was finished, the Broncos released him and kept Paul Ernster.
--Running back Mike Bell gave jersey number 20 to Travis Henry, and will now wear No. 30. The last Bronco to wear No. 30 was Terrell Davis. Bell said he received permission from Davis to wear his old number.
"I didn't want to make it seem like I was trying to overshadow him because he was a great player and it would be hard to even live up to what he did," Bell said.
--Broncos linebacker Al Wilson did not join his teammates for the start of the off-season conditioning program. Wilson is being shopped in a trade. If Wilson is not traded, he could be released. His base salary this season is $5.2 million.
--The Broncos will open the preseason on "Monday Night Football" against the team that knocked them out of the 2006 playoffs, the San Francisco 49ers. Denver travels to San Francisco to play the 49ers on Aug. 13. The Broncos travel to Dallas the next week, then finish the preseason with home games against Cleveland and Arizona.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's been a goal since day one. Until I accomplish that a couple of times, I won't be satisfied." -- Broncos CB Champ Bailey on winning the NFL defensive player of the year award. He finished second last year.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
1. Defensive line: The Broncos came up short in their pursuit of free agent end Patrick Kerney and tackle Dan Wilkinson didn't report after being traded. The Broncos landed former Brown Alvin McKinley in free agency, but the line is still an area of need. They are likely to invest in the line during the draft.
3. Linebacker: If the Broncos do trade or release middle linebacker Al Wilson, they might look to add some more depth at linebacker this off-season in a trade or free agency. The Broncos wouldn't have much experienced depth if Nate Webster goes into the starting lineup.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--OG Cooper Carlisle will likely test the open market. The Broncos want the versatile Carlisle back, but they have solid depth if he leaves.
--DT Michael Myers is a solid, steady performer in the middle. Quality defensive linemen usually get attention in free agency, so the Broncos will wait to see if it is prudent to re-sign him.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--FB Cecil Sapp (tendered at $1.3M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) is a talented player who fills many roles. Even though he's coming off an injury, he should be back.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Not available.
--LB Louis Green: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--FB Kyle Johnson: RFA; terms unknown.
--WR Quincy Morgan: UFA; terms unknown.
--DT Kenny Peterson: UFA; terms unknown.
--CB Dre' Bly (trade Lions).
--TE Daniel Graham: UFA Patriots; $30M/5 yrs, $15M guaranteed.
--RB Travis Henry: FA Titans; 5 yrs, $12M guaranteed; other terms unknown.
--OG Montrae Holland: UFA Saints; $1M/1 yr, SB unknown.
--DT Alvin McKinley: UFA Browns; $8M/4 yrs, SB unknown.
--QB Patrick Ramsey: FA Jets; $4.5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--FB Paul Smith: UFA Rams; $2.55M/3 yrs, $300,000 SB.
--WR Brandon Stokley: FA Colts; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Tatum Bell (traded Lions).
--DE Courtney Brown (released).
--LB Keith Burns: UFA; retired.
--DE Patrick Chukwurah: UFA Buccaneers; $5.5M/5 yrs, SB unknown.
--OT George Foster (traded Lions).
--RB Damien Nash (deceased).
--QB Jake Plummer (traded Buccaneers).
--CB Darrent Williams (deceased).
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