- Coming into Friday's practice, which player were you most excited to see?**
I wanted to see Jamaal Charles, because I've never seen Jamaal Charles when he wasn't all in red. It's interesting: It seems like they kind of have him on a pitch count and they want to make sure that — as Vance Joseph told me, they want to make sure he lasts 16 games. I think that's a very low-risk signing and a very interesting signing, to see what he has left after missing 75 percent of his games the last two years.
2. Which player are you most excited to talk to?
I'm really interested in talking to Von Miller, both from a football sense and everything else. He's one of the most interesting people in the NFL. He's got such a variety of interests. I really like the way he carries himself, on and off the field, and he's one of the five best players in football, so getting a chance to talk to him about where he is in his life with football is cool.
3. This stop is just one of many on your yearly trip around the country to NFL training camps. What do you love about doing this every year?
I think it's one thing to be able spend 20 minutes on the phone with John Elway when I really need him, but it's another thing to sit down and to have 20 to 30 minutes just talking to John, mostly off the record, just about where he is, where his team is, what he likes, what he's concerned about. That's stuff that you need to see people to do. I came from Dallas, spent an hour with Jerry Jones and 45 minutes with Jason Garrett. These are things I think are so important to do if you cover the league and you want to make sure that you keep relationships with people and you want to find out what's really happening with their team and not just learning about the team from reading the local papers online.
The Broncos brought the fire to Friday morning's training camp practice at UCHealth Training Center. (photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)
4. You can probably tell by being here how much people would like to see Pat Bowlen take the next step in his Hall of Fame candidacy. What I'm wondering is, what is it like to be a voter and how much weight do you feel?
Well, it is a big responsibility and, I mean, I'm one of 48 people who do this, so I can't really speak for the other 47, but I walk into those meetings when we have to pick the new class the day before the Super Bowl and I'm nervous, because I know it's so important to so many people and I know that I want to try to make the right decisions. And over the years — I mean, I've done it 25 years — over the years, the one thing I've learned about it is you really can't take it personally. It's like when I look at what goes on in Washington now with the Democrats and Republicans. There are going to be some people in that room who I just am going to disagree with on who they want and who I want and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not necessarily right; they're not necessarily right. But you have to vote your conscience and if you're going to be an honorable person, you have to do your homework and vote your conscience and then after that, you just have to let the chips fall.
5. In addition to being a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, you're also an editor for The MMQB, a football-focused site. As a reader, what do you like to see in a story?
Things that I would never know. Little, tiny factoids about a guy that I would never know just from watching a guy at a press conference or just having a cursory knowledge of him. I want to know the real inside stories about a player and a team. That's why I think much more important than whether you're a good writer or you're really great on TV, to me the most important thing in our jobs is to get information that improves your knowledge, that improves a consumer's knowledge about that person or that time. Like, if I don't come out of here and tell people three things they don't know about the Denver Broncos, I really haven't done my job. So when I read a story, I want to learn something that I didn't know.
6. As part of your tour, you get to see a lot of the country. Each place has its own unique features — Thursday night, you tweeted about the magnificent skies here — so what are your favorite parts about this region?
Probably three things: one, the utter devotion to the football team. People here are not negative. If the Broncos lose 24-3, it's not like they're going to get booed off the field or the next time they show up to play, the fans are going to boo them. People here love the Broncos. I think that's a cool thing. They're not fair-weather fans. That's number one.
Number two about the state: All corners of this state worship this team. That is really cool. When you go to different parts of Colorado, it's not like, 'Well, if you go over here, they might the Cardinals. If you go over here they might like the Chiefs, or whatever. The state is all in for this team.
And then, I just think the natural beauty here. I haven't been to a lot of different parts of this state, but every time I come here, I just know that I just think it's one of the most beautiful places in the country.