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Broncos, Briefly: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019

Emmanuel Sanders was first in line from the southwest tunnel at Broncos Stadium on Monday night for player introductions. The Denver wide receiver smiled, twirled a right hand into his chest and took a bow.

Toss it up as a pre-celebration for a welcome-back party eight months in the making.

Lock wasn't the only key player to leave with an injury. First-round tight end Noah Fant started as Jeff Heuerman, who has dealt with a shoulder injury in camp, was held out. In the first quarter, on an 11-yard completion, Fant injured his right foot and did not return.

That means first- and second-round picks were wounded in the span of three quarters Monday and it marked the third preseason game in which the Broncos endured injuries to multiple key players.

It was the Broncos starters played into the second quarter. It gave the crowd of 59,232 that turned out in the sweltering 95-degree heat -- the warmest ever for a Broncos kickoff -- an extended look at why hope is slowly peeking its head around corners at UCHealth Training Center.

In a scintillating preseason bout that lasted over three hours, the Denver Broncos fell to the San Francisco 49ers, 24-15 on Monday night.

While the final score might not get you excited, there was one thing that should have you excited about the 2019 Broncos.