Injured players return

The Denver Broncos got a welcomed sight at the start of their team camp when offensive tackle Matt Lepsis and safety Sam Brandon each returned to practice.

Both players are returning from torn ACLs that ended their season last year. The Broncos were hit hard by the loss of Lepsis, an underrated left tackle. Without him, the offensive line struggled at times as first-year player Erik Pears was thrown into the fire.

Lepsis was a bit limited in practice but said he felt pretty good returning to football drills.

"It's going to take time, but I'm sure by opening day I'll be back to 100 percent," Lepsis said.

Brandon is also important to the Broncos. He is the top backup to starters John Lynch and Nick Ferguson, and there's not much proven depth at the position. Brandon also was getting comfortable in his role of matching up with opponents' tight ends in the Broncos' "Big Nickel" defense before he suffered the knee injury.

Brandon's early return was a little surprising. He injured his knee against Pittsburgh on Nov. 5 and had surgery a couple weeks later. About six months later he was back to doing some football drills at practice.

He stayed after practice to work on individual drills with assistant defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford, and was happy with his progress.

"I didn't think I'd be back this quick, but it's a progression," Brandon said. "It feels pretty good, actually."

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