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'It's great to be back': Super Bowl XXXIII alumni, Ring of Famers take in Broncos practice ahead of Week 2


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the 2023 Broncos hit the field for the final time ahead of a matchup with the Washington Commanders, some of the franchise's best players were in attendance.

Dozens of players from the Broncos' Super Bowl XXXIII team and Ring of Famers from throughout the team's history attended Saturday's walkthrough, as Owner Carrie Walton Penner and Head Coach Sean Payton hosted the group ahead of Week 2.

"It's always a great time when the Broncos host the alumni to come back and reminisce and talk about our old days," said Maa Tanuvasa, who tied for the team lead in sacks in 1998. "It's great to be back."

Tanuvasa joined a slew of former Super Bowl XXXIII teammates — including Hall of Famer Steve Atwater, Neil Smith, Keith Traylor, Trevor Pryce and many others — at practice and for a pre-practice breakfast.

"This is really exciting," Traylor said. "I hate that I stayed away that long, but now that I'm back, I'll keep coming back. I'm having a really good time."

Though it has been 25 years since the Broncos won back-to-back world championships, many in attendance agreed it's hard to believe that much time has passed.

"It's always a pleasure to come back to Denver," Crockett said. "… When you come back for something like this, it's our guys, man. It's the band of brothers. That makes it fun. … There's nothing like being around winners, and that's what we are for life. Once you win two Super Bowls back to back, they can't take that from you. That title is yours, and you are a winner. It's good to be around a bunch of winners.

"… That is what's really tell-tale of the band of brothers, when you go and you say, 'You know what? I feel like I never left.' I'm sitting next to Keith Traylor, I'm sitting next to Steve Atwater, I'm talking to Neil Smith. It's like we just were in the locker room. It's that good feeling."

The opportunities to reminisce and visit began Friday night with a reception and will continue on Saturday night with a decades panel — featuring one alumnus from each decade — during a celebration at Centura Health Training Center.

Traylor, Tanuvasa and Crockett all credited the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group for welcoming them back for the reunion weekend.

"We paved the way for a lot of the guys that's coming, so it means quite a bit for the new owners to show us the love and respect," Traylor said.

Denver's alums — who were recognized by Payton at the end of practice and helped break down the team huddle — are eager to cap the weekend with a win on Sunday.

"It's always nice [to be at practice]," Crockett said. "We've got to start winning now. Don't get me wrong. We as alumni and we as older players, we still have that fire in our belly. We still breathe and eat winning. They've got to start winning, but it's always fun to cheer [them on]. I'm orange and blue through and through."

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