ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bronco players were like everybody else Saturday.
All they were talking about in locker room after practice was the outrageous Antonio Brown saga that resulted in his release from the Oakland Raiders.
What do you think about A.B.? Who’s he going to play for next? New England? Brady will play eight more years if he has Antonio Brown (which would make Brady playing at 50 years old). Update: This story was first published about 15 minutes before the first report Brown had agreed to terms with the Patriots).
“It turned into a contractual thing and I definitely don’t see a guy like A.B. playing with no guarantees,’’ said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in sending some compassion to the player he won’t be covering on Monday night in Oakland.
As the Raiders are the Broncos’ first regular-season opponent Monday night in Oakland, the caution is to not get distracted by the Raiders’ distractions.
“I don’t think so,’’ said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. “The day it first started (Thursday) the players weren’t even here so that probably helped a little bit. Things like that roll off players backs all the time so they’re ready to go.”
“Those guys are definitely still quality guys,’’ Harris said of the Raiders. “They can still get the job done if we don’t come out and have our A game so we can’t take them lightly. It’s a big rival game so anything can happen.’’
Officially, the Broncos generously listed inside linebacker Todd Davis, their leading tackler in two of the previous three years, as “doubtful” on their injury report for the Raiders’ game Monday.
The Broncos easily could have ruled Davis “out” as he still has not practiced since suffering a calf strain on the first day of training camp back on July 18. And he hasn’t finished a practice since June 5 – more than four months ago.
There is no way Davis plays. He will be replaced most likely by Alexander Johnson in the base defense and Corey Nelson – cut by Tampa Bay eight days ago – on passing downs. Given Davis has yet to practice, he could well miss game 2 against the Chicago Bears.
Had Fangio allowed season captains this year, Joe Flacco on offense, Von Miller on defense and Brandon McManus on special teams would no doubt be the top choices.
Fangio is going game-by-game with his captains, though, and for Game 1 against the Raiders, the choices are Flacco, Miller and McManus.
Practice squad means squad
When Fangio was the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-14, head coach Jim Harbaugh would bring his practice squad players on road trips. Some of it was by necessity as travelling from San Francisco meant leaving on Friday and practicing Saturday on the road.
“Everybody treats their practice squad a little different,’’ said defensive tackle Mike Purcell, a veteran practice squad player for many teams who is now on the Broncos’ 53-man roster. “When I was with Harbaugh in San Francisco and Vic as well, they really treated you as part of the team. You’re travelling with the team every away game. You’re expected as you’re a member of the 53. You’re expected to play that way and perform and to act that way as well.
“It differs with a couple places. Game day comes around and they don’t want you on the sideline. They’ll put you in the (press) box.’’
The Broncos leave after practice Sunday for Oakland so they don’t need their practice squaders for the trip.
But Fangio wants them along.
“They’re part of the team so I like to bring them,’’ he said.
Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan is listed as questionable. …
Tight end Troy Fumagalli participated in the team’s walkthrough Saturday, but then left the field at the start of practice with an illness.
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