ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos haven't been shy about their championship hopes for the upcoming season.
During the offseason, Tim Patrick deemed it a "Super Bowl or bust" year, and General Manager George Paton said he would be "disappointed" if his team didn't have that mindset.
There's a long journey, though, between training camp expectations and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. And following Friday's practice, the team heard from a former Bronco who reached that goal with a win in Super Bowl 50.
Derek Wolfe, who announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday, had a simple message.
"I told them, 'Look, you guys finally got the piece that we've been missing, and that's Russell Wilson,'" Wolfe said. "'Follow his lead, he knows what he's doing. Just embrace every day and enjoy all the time. Don't take anything for granted out here.'"
Wolfe said he believes this year's iteration of the Broncos can make a run to a Super Bowl, as he said the defense also has the necessary talent to make a run.
"They have the pieces to do it," Wolfe said. "You have a guy like Justin Simmons — he does everything right. He's a true professional, and he is the same guy every day. If I'm a young player, I'm looking at the guys like him. I'm looking up to guys like [Bradley] Chubb. Those are guys that I'm looking at because they do it right and do things the right way. They want to win. If I was giving advice to young guy or a new player, it would be that when you walk into this building, find a guy who is doing it right and follow him."
Wolfe also mentioned that the pursuit of a Super Bowl can be fleeting — and a team never truly knows when its opportunity may come.
"After I got that ring, I put it away and was like, 'Don't worry, I'll have more,'" Wolfe said. "That shows you [that] you can't take it for granted, because I didn't even get close again. [I] tried so hard to get close again, but it just never happened. It takes so much to make it happen."
In addition to Wolfe's Super Bowl-related wisdom, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said he knew the value that a former player — one that found success for a decade in the league — could provide for his current team.
"Nobody knows what it's like until it's over," Hackett said. "So, it's always great to hear from the player. Coaches, we say it all the time that you have to work harder, and you never know when that's going to happen. But I think coming from those guys, it means even more, so I'm happy he's here."
ROOKIES EN ROUTE TO RETURNS
Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich continued to work on a side field on Friday as he rehabs a hamstring injury, but the third-round pick said he's made "some good progress" toward a return to team drills.
Dulcich did not give a definitive timetable on his return, but said he was "feeling good" and "happy with where [he is] now."
Undrafted rookie Christopher Allen, meanwhile, returned to practice on Friday following a short stint on the Non-Football Injury list. Allen, who suffered a foot injury last year at Alabama, said he's felt better each day.
In his first day of practice, Allen took part in individual and received team reps.
"It feels good [to be back], but there's also a little bit of rust, so it's nice to finally be able to get out there," Allen said.
The outside linebacker, who posted six sacks in 2020, said he's looking to learn from older players like Bradley Chubb, and his goals for training camp are clear.
"Just to ball out," Allen said. "Just to be the best every day."