KUSA - For the first time since playing in the Super Bowl, Denver Broncos players are wearing their helmets.
Wednesday's Organized Team Activity (OTA) marks the first day of "Phase 3" when the NFL allows head wear along with offense against defense drills.
"It's real football," said head coach John Fox afterwards. "I think you get to practice against somebody. Offense and defense practice against each other. That's really the first phase where that's allowed by the new CBA. So I just call it real football. Back on the grass. I think they get excited and I know all the coaches get excited about it."
Players still are not allowed to make any contact in the 7 on 7, 9 on 7 or 11 on 11 drills, but there will be plenty of time for that later this summer. Right now it's a chance for the offense and defense to go against each other in limited capacity and see some new faces staring across the line of scrimmage, like defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Aqib Talib.
"Yeah, obviously I've played against both of them," said Manning. "It's nice knowing they're wearing the same color jersey as you are. It's nice knowing that DeMarcus will be on your team. I think Eli [Manning] was not disappointed that DeMarcus was leaving the NFC East and coming to the AFC. We feel lucky to be adding a great player to our team. And Talib, I thought was probably the toughest corner that we played against last year, after going against him twice."
Ware felt the same way as his quarterback: a little strange, but happy to be on the same team.
"It was. Actually, he tried to do that bootleg play that he did on me when I played with the Cowboys," said Ware laughing. "It didn't work this time, so it was funny. That's just what he does. It's different. When you have a captain like that, you want to play for him."
Phase 3 will span the next four weeks and include a mini camp the week of June 9.
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