You come to the first day of Broncos training camp, alongside a patch of tall evergreens and the Rockies looming in the distance, with grand expectations. So many stories, so much excitement. Fans were lined up outside the parking lot starting at midnight (having been turned away at 10 p.m. Wednesday by stunned security guards) for the 8:50 a.m. Mountain Time practice on Thursday. The region’s revved.
Peyton Manning wasn’t sharp in his first practice of the summer, but he’s going to be in fine form in year 2 here, heaving downfield to the speedy Demaryius Thomas. And then there’s Wes Welker, Tom Brady’s longtime slot receiver now in the slot for Manning, looking strange with a horse rather than a Patriot on his helmet. There’s hunky wideout Eric Decker. Four or five teen girls screamed at one point, “We love you, Decker!” To which a couple of linebackers sing-songed, “Oh, we love you Decker!” Shaun Phillips and Quentin Jammer and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, trying to revive their careers, patrolled a new defense for the first day. And No. 38 … remember him, Badger fans? Montee Ball, the 2011 Heisman candidate, circled out of the backfield and caught a nice screen from Manning. He’s going to have a good shot to contribute to the offense from day one.
So why were so many eyes Thursday on the fifth-round pick from Western Kentucky with the unique name and big left knee brace?
Quanterus Smith, selected in the April draft 16 slots after a fullback from Harvard, is suddenly in the eye of a very significant storm...
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