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Mile Hiatus


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have about a month-and-a-half hiatus -- starting now.

Thursday's minicamp was the last time the team will practice as a unit until training camp begins near the end of July.

Players and coaches all have their own thoughts on how the next six weeks will be spent. But with all the progress that's been made in 10 days of OTAs and three minicamp practices so far this summer, sitting around and squandering it is the last option for any Bronco.

"We have high expectations, and (we want them) to come back in the best shape of their life," Head Coach John Fox said. "They've worked very hard during this offseason (and we told them) not to lose that over this little break before we start the real race. 

Players got the message.

"We have to stay in shape, just like Coach Fox said," tight end Joel Dreessen said. "We have to come back in the best shape of our lives. Our standard is to compete every single week and do what we can to win a world championship."

Defensive end Elvis Dumervil echoed his teammate.

"I think the strength coaches did a tremendous job with us in the offseason helping guys to get in shape to be strong and fast," he said. "We want to stay that way over the break."

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley said the receiving corps and quarterback Peyton Manning will discuss their plans to meet and continue ironing out the wrinkles in the passing game. The 14-year veteran knows as well as anyone that entering training camp in poor shape would be a huge mistake.

"It's not really like you can get your mind and your body away from it, like you can just go to Hawaii for six weeks," Stokley said. "You've got to stay in it, keep working out and keep training, because training camp is right around the corner and you can't let your body go."

Linebacker Joe Mays plans to work out his mind just as much as his body.

"Going over the playbook, studying it," Mays said. "There's no stopping. Just because OTAs are over with, we still have to work, still have to grind because we have an important season ahead of us." 

As for non-football related activities during the players' upcoming respite, some – like Dreessen and Stokley – have some unique plans in place. 

Dreessen will take some time to prepare for life after football. He'll attend an "NFL Broadcast Boot Camp" that the league runs to help prepare players for post-career opportunities. He said that broadcasting is a profession he hopes to pursue when his football playing career is over.

"I dabbled in a little bit of (TV) down in Texas," Dreessen said. 

He also hopes the broadcasting boot camp will help ease the anticipation of the far more grueling boot camp that's approaching. 

"My wife always says I get super grumpy during July because the anticipation for training camp is worse than actually going through it itself," Dreessen laughed. "I have that feeling right now, that anticipation for two-a-days and 14-hour days. I don't feel good already."

Stokley, meanwhile, hopes to win a championship before training camp even starts.

"Hopefully I'll bring my 8-year-old D.C. Dolphins a baseball championship," he said. "It's serious business. It's coaching. It's hard work. I have a lot on my plate these next few weeks."
But other than some minor off-the-field endeavors that some players plan to engage in, these next six weeks will be quite similar to the last six weeks.

"I just keep doing the same thing," Dumervil said. "Keep working hard."

Fox and his staff, on the other hand, aren't as concerned with being in tip-top physical condition. Their mentality is a bit different right now.

"(For the coaches), we'll take a little family time," he said. "It's like the calm before the storm."

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