ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The first priority is keeping all players safe from the virus so there can be an NFL season.
The Denver Broncos practiced against each other in pads for the first time on Monday, Aug. 17. Padded practices in the NFL do not follow social distancing regulations.
The next priority for competitive reasons is to make sure the most important players remain healthy. The Broncos cannot afford to have quarterback Drew Lock miss two weeks recovering from COVID-19.
It’s comparatively easy now because the players are at team headquarters 12 to 13 hours a day during training camp. It's all they can do to make it home and get to bed.
“I think the real thing is going to be when we get into a game prep week,’’ Lock said. “We’ve got a couple off days, the nights aren’t as long as camp, the mornings aren’t as early to where guys might feel like they have a little free time.
“That’s my responsibility to remind us that this is a very important season for everybody. But it’s also very important for us to stay healthy and that if we really do love the game like we say we do, we should be willing to sacrifice a little bit of free time and time out of football. I know personally I love it enough to be able to give that up.”
This could be a year when it’s not the best teams that have a successful season, but the healthiest. The Broncos have had just one player test positive for COVID since training camp began 25 days ago. That was fullback/tight end Andrew Beck, who returned to practice Monday.
The Broncos just may have a chance in 2020.
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