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Mile High Morning: Be like Peyton Manning — donate blood to help your community during the COVID-19 crisis if you're able

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The Lead

You — yes, you — can be just like Peyton Manning.

You don't even have to throw 55 touchdowns in a season or have two Super Bowl rings to do so. All it takes is being healthy and eligible to give blood at a local blood donation center.

On Thursday, Manning and his former teammate Brandon Stokley did just that after making an appointment at Children's Hospital Colorado's Blood Donor Center. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for blood donations has skyrocketed because previously scheduled blood drives have been canceled, leaving blood service providers well short of the levels they expect.

Vitalant, a nonprofit community blood service provider that has donation centers in Denver and serves hospitals and health-care partners in 40 states, has already seen the cancelation of 600 blood drives across the country that were scheduled for the month of April. Liz Lambert, a marketing and communications manager for Vitalant, says they expect that number to increase in the coming days and weeks.

However, donating blood is still possible, even as many states put stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders into effect. Donating blood is considered an essential function, and essential functions like that are permitted during this time.

"Blood donations are needed every day of the year to help patients," Lambert says, "everything from car accidents [and] surgeries to the more behind-the-scenes treatments people don't always think about. There's cancer treatments where patients might need a weekly or bi-weekly transfusion. There are blood disorders that people have that require frequent transfusions. And so all of those needs are continuing to go on, even as we shelter in place, even as attention has turned to responding to COVID-19. We need to ensure that safe and ready blood supply is there. …

"The important thing is the blood that's already on the shelf, that's what helps a patient when that need arises. We always have to anticipate that in advance and be ready for that. When an emergency strikes, we can't ask people to donate at that time. It already has to be ready. So that's why we're looking ahead to these coming weeks, to make sure that people are making appointments now. Even if they're not making an appointment for this week, if they can make one for next week or the week after, that will help us ensure that we have enough in the pipeline ready to go when it is needed."

You might be feeling stuck at home right now. You might feel like there's nothing you can do to help. But considering that three lives are saved with each blood donation, there's nothing further from the truth. Making a donation is one of the most impactful things you can do for your community at this time.

"There's so few opportunities in life where you can make such a direct impact on another person's life," Lambert says. "There is no synthetic substitute for blood. It has to come from volunteer donors to be transfused directly. It's a simple hour of your time that can make a lasting difference in someone's life."

To schedule an appointment — which is the encouraged method due to social-distancing measures — please visit vitalant.org or the website of your local blood donation center or call ahead.

Blood service providers like Vitalant are taking additional precautions during this time. More information can be found on vitalant.org/COVID-FAQs or on the website of your local blood donation center.

Below the Fold

Our own Phil Milani got in contact with quarterback Drew Lock this week to hear how he's trying to prepare for the 2020 season during the novel coronavirus outbreak. For all that and more, including his thoughts about the Broncos' offseason additions, check out the video or read through our article detailing Lock's comments.

In yesterday's Mile High Morning, we wrote about the chances of Broncos selecting a player who isn't a wide receiver in the first round. Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson believes that not only might the Broncos do that, but they might also trade down to get a player they like and add a second-round pick at the same time. That would not be unlike the team's move in 2019, when Denver traded back in the first round and selected Noah Fant with the 20th-overall pick and added a second-round pick. The Broncos later packaged that second-round pick in a trade to move up in the second round to draft Drew Lock.

Then again, the temptation of Henry Ruggs III joining Courtland Sutton could be too much to pass over. Matt Bowen of ESPN believes the Broncos are the perfect fit for Ruggs: "In Denver, Ruggs would work opposite Courtland Sutton -- the Broncos also have a seam stretcher with Noah Fant at tight end -- to cater to the arm talent of second-year quarterback Drew Lock. And Ruggs is going to catch some bombs in 2020." However, his idea that Buffaloes fans may have to watch Laviska Shenault Jr. catch passes from Patrick Mahomes may turn some stomachs.

And going back to another central topic from a previous edition of this blog, ESPN's Jeff Legwold says that new Broncos running back Melvin Gordon could work wonders for the Broncos on third down. "Even with a sluggish start to his season after a contract holdout, Gordon converted 60% of his third-down rushes into first downs overall," Legwold wrote.

For all the season-ticket holders out there, the Broncos sent messages to notify people that although they're preparing for the upcoming season, "if a game is canceled and cannot be rescheduled or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending," season ticket holders would receive a refund or account credit for any games that are impacted.

Sorry, no podcasts to update you on today. What a run, though!

The Unclassifieds

In this section, we dove into the social media world to find some of the most interesting, funny or otherwise entertaining posts from our players or other people about the Broncos.

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Sunkist 22 #JackBoy🤐 #NoMask🤫

A post shared by Kareem Jackson (@reemboi25) on

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