ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –With players reporting for training camp on Wednesday, the buzz in the air at the team's Dove Valley headquarters was palpable.
"With each season, what's great about the NFL, is it's new," Head Coach John Fox said. "It's 32 teams, everybody's 0-0, and it's a new race, so to speak. It's always good getting the guys back, they all look good and they have smiles on their faces. They're excited about getting this training camp started."
For the free agents that the team signed this offseason, training camp marks the first real opportunity they have to get extensive practice time in with their new teammates.
Cornerback Tracy Porter is taking Fox's fresh start philosophy to heart.
"I look at this as a new start to my career," Porter said. "I'm taking it in as my rookie year all over again. New team, new atmosphere, new attitude."
After some time away from the field in the offseason, Porter said he's ready for the final portion of the offseason to kick off.
"It's exciting, knowing that it's a tough, long road ahead," he said. "You have ample days out here, a full month of just training camp around the guys in the heat, building camaraderie. For me, it's exciting."
This year will be the sixth training camp of Jacob Tamme's career, but the tight end is still looking forward to the three-week grind.
"You're kind of anxious," he said. "You're chomping at the bit a little bit. It's been a really good summer. I went over and checked in at the hotel today and I was just kind of sitting around thinking, 'Let's go. Let's get things started.' So, we're here, and it'll be fun to get out there tomorrow morning."
Training camp has a reputation for being tough and grueling, but for players in the NFL, that's something they look forward to.
"Where else would you rather be?" Tamme asked. "Training camp is hard. There are times when you wake up and your body is hurting and all that. But this is a blessing, man. This is fun. There's nothing else you'd rather do as a 27-year-old male. Let's go play football."
VICTIMS INSPIRE BRONCOS
Earlier in the week, several members of the Broncos visited patients who were injured in the Aurora shootings.
Porter wasn't available to go with his teammates to the Medical Center of Aurora on Sunday or to Swedish Medical Center on Monday, so he took it upon himself to make a trip on Tuesday.
"Honestly, I had prior obligations the first two days that the team went," Porter said. "It was something I really wanted to do. The thing that I took away from it is that despite what happened, it didn't slow their spirits down. They were all in high spirits."
Tamme visited both hospitals with teammates earlier in the week.
"It's just really inspiring to see the way people were healing," he said. "Everyone is kind of in their own place with that process. It was such a tragic event, but it was a lot of fun to go out and at least get to put a smile on some faces. Some of the folks we met, it was incredible to hear their stories and how they were handling things was really impressive."
Fox said the team stresses giving back at times like these.
"We understand the responsibility that comes with being in the Bronco organization," he said. "This region, city and state have great passion for the team, no doubt. I think our players will feel that responsibility and that's something we will most definitely talk about in our upcoming team meeting. You know, I was in New York when 9/11 occurred, and a lot of the victims really looked to us, as will the victims in Denver, for some uplifting times."
Fox said he saw the positive impact the players had in the community throughout the summer, including visiting areas affected by the wildfires.
"Whether it was the fires, or this recent tragedy, I'm very proud of them," he said. "They're out there and want to give back, and they want to, somehow, lift the spirits."
DUMERVIL MAKES STATEMENT
Elvis Dumervil addressed the off-the-field incident from earlier this month with the following statement:
"Out of respect for the investigation, there's not much I can say. Once the investigation is completed, the truth will come out, and I'll answer whatever questions (you have)."
Fox said that it is important to wait for the investigation to conclude before jumping to any conclusions.
"When you're involved in a situation like that as an organization, just like any situation you're involved in, you have to gather the information and find out, in the best way you can, the facts and let the process work itself out," he said. "And the truth eventually comes out."
For any cornerback who plays opposite a future Hall-of-Famer like Champ Bailey, they can expect to see plenty of passes thrown their way as opposing quarterbacks avoid the 11-time Pro Bowler.
That's something Porter both expects and looks forward to.
"That's something that I knew coming in—Champ (Bailey) is Champ." Porter said. "He's a guy that I really wanted to learn from. He's a guy that I looked up to once I started playing football. He's a top corner, a Hall of Famer once he's done playing the game. To come and to learn from him, that's something that any corner dreams of. As far as me getting the balls because they're not going to throw at him, if that was something that I was afraid of, I wouldn't have signed here. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
With linebacker D.J. Williams facing a six-game suspension to begin the season, other linebackers will have an opportunity for reps with the first team during training camp.
"Well, we'll monitor that," Fox said. "Obviously he's going to miss a big portion of the season. We already know, going in, that he won't be with the (starters) for games 1-6, so I don't know that he'll get many (starter) reps in this camp."
As players reported on Wednesday, the first thing they did was take a physical.
Two of the team's college free agents – wide receiver Eric Page and cornerback Coryell Judie – failed their physicals and were waived from the roster.