ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – The Denver Broncos returned to the practice field Friday, a day after protesting social injustices which kept them on the sidelines Thursday.
“There was a lot of tough conversations yesterday,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said after practice. “I feel like, as a group, we were really challenged. Conversations got as deep as wanting to see the governor (Jared Polis) and asking questions about Elijah McClain.”
Following the lead of other teams in the NFL and other professional sports, the Broncos held team meetings to discuss their role in the community and response to the unrest across the country.
“It was a serious situation we are dealing with,” head coach Vic Fangio told the media after Friday’s practice. “The players have some good things planned and we are going to help them. We all knew this was going to be an improvise and adjustment during training camp. We did that yesterday. We think we are better off for it.”
For running back Melvin Gordon III, these issues touch close to home.
“We’re all from different areas and this can happen in anyone’s community,” he said.
Gordon is from Kenosha, Wisc. where Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police.
“It was just sad to see. People from my hometown getting shot in the street. It really hits home, really emotional for me.”
So, can Thursday’s team bonding translate on the field for the broncos?
“I do think if a team is closer and likes each other, it can carry a team,” said Fangio.
As for practice, Fangio liked what he saw. Injured linebacker Todd Davis is still an observer at camp, but is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a calf injury.
Practice will move to Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday afternoon. Fangio wants to make it as much like a game day experience as possible.
“Pregame warmups, time it out for a real game. Have a kickoff. Put the ball in difference places on the field. Have a halftime,” he said.
No fans will be in attendance.