ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos are set to kick off the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2019 induction weekend.
The Broncos will play the Atlanta Falcons in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game, which is the first preseason game of the 2019 NFL season.
Both teams have significant connections to the Hall of Fame's Class of 2019. Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen and former Denver cornerback Champ Bailey will each be inducted into the Hall in August. The Falcons will be represented in the class by first-ballot Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.
The two teams will meet on Thursday, Aug. 1 in Canton, Ohio, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
"With Mr. Bowlen and Champ Bailey part of this year's induction class, it's an honor for the Broncos to play in the Hall of Fame Game," Head Coach Vic Fangio said. "We're looking forward to seeing a lot of Broncos fans in Canton, and it's also special for us to help kick off the NFL's 100th season. Football-wise, it gives our team an extra week of training camp and additional practices that we'll use to our advantage."
Denver will make its fourth appearance in the game. The Broncos last played in the game in 2004, when John Elway was elected into the Hall of Fame.
The Broncos' and Falcons' participation in the Hall of Fame game means they will begin training camp earlier than the league's other 30 teams. Both the Broncos and Falcons will play five preseason games.
Most NFL teams tend not to play their starters during the Hall of Fame game, but several young players have made their debuts. In 2018, Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson saw extensive action.
The Hall of Fame game is just the start of induction weekend. The inductees will receive their gold jackets during a ceremony on Friday night, and they will be officially enshrined on Saturday evening when their busts are revealed and presented.
Bowlen and Bailey will increase the Broncos' Pro Football Hall of Fame representation to seven individuals. They will join John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe and Terrell Davis in the Hall of Fame.