To celebrate the new partnership, Broncos players, cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot went to Children's Hospital Colorado to put smiles on kids' faces. (Photo credit: Ben Swanson, Scott Ward/DenverBroncos.com)
AURORA, Colo. --Brandon Marshall's rehabilitation continues, but he's got company from teammates.
Fellow defensive players including inside linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive lineman Vance Walker don't have to be at Dove Valley; they could work out on their own. But they're around Dove Valley, keeping Marshall company and pushing each other as they work toward the first training-camp practice July 31.
The last week and a half has been eventful for Marshall, who said he has begun running in his recovery from foot surgery. He said he's been "running pretty well," not only on a flat field, but up the hill on the west side of the practice fields. During OTAs, Marshall walked and slowly strode up that hill, where fans will sit to watch practice in just over four weeks.
"I'm excited to do it," Marshall said. "I just can't wait to be back on the field."
Marshall says he's "definitely" still looking at a return during training camp. For now, he must remain at Dove Valley for daily rehabilitation work. But Nelson is 100 percent healthy, so he can leave, and later this month will depart for Haiti for a week on a charitable mission.
"I'm just helping, painting, building stuff, carrying things, going to the churches and just being there for the Haitians," Nelson said.
This is the second consecutive year Nelson has traveled to Haiti, which continues its recovery from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated the nation and its capital, Port-au-Prince, on Jan. 12, 2010.
For people outside of the impoverished Caribbean nation, the quake has faded into memory. But in Haiti, the arduous rebuilding process remains front and center.
"[The building] is still going on," he added. "There's a lot to be done there, and I'm just honored and blessed to be able to go there and give my spirit and to give myself to them and just be filled up by whatever they have in store for me."
Marshall and Nelson joined guard Ben Garland and safety David Bruton, members of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders and mascot Miles to visit patients at Children's Hospital Colorado. The visit is the first step of what will be an extensive partnership between the Broncos and Children's Hospital Colorado, which was announced Wednesday morning.
The children were eager to visit some of the players who inspire them, but the inspiration flowed in both directions.
"Just looking at the smiles on their faces, brightening up their day, they inspire us to continue to do what we do, to make them happy, to give them hope to continue to fight and to show them that they can do and be whatever they want to be if they just continue to press through," Nelson said.