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Broncos roster cuts coming sooner (Tuesday) or later (August 16)

To create social-distance space, teams must reduce roster from 90 to 80 players earlier than usual. Waiting until August 16 would mean splitting in 2 player groups.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway during a combined NFL football training camp at the Broncos' headquarters Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos may be cutting 10 players before veterans report for COVID-19 testing on Tuesday.

9NEWS obtained a memo the NFL sent to its 32 teams that contained several amendments to how training camp will be conducted with coronavirus safeguards.

To help free up social distancing, all teams are required to cut their roster from 90 players to 80 either by Tuesday, when veterans report for coronavirus testing, or August 16, the day before full-pad practices begin.

Waiting until August 16 to reduce the roster would mean splitting the 90 players into two groups that cannot be at the team's camp facility at the same time.

One group would consist of rookies, first-year players, veteran players rehabilitating injuries and some quarterbacks.

The other group would consist of veteran players and some quarterbacks.

Broncos general manager John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio are expected to decide on their roster-trim option no later than Monday morning. It makes sense to make the roster cuts Tuesday because splitting up a team into two groups would seem unwieldy with players like receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler in the rookie group, and receiver Courtland Sutton and tight ends Noah Fant and Nick Vannett in the other group.

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Other information from the NFL memo:

*All four of the Broncos’ preseason games that were going to be telecast on Channel 20 have been officially cancelled.

*There will be a limit of 14 padded practices, starting August 17. The first padded practice can only be 90 minutes in length. Each subsequent practice can add 15 minutes until it reaches the 2 hour, 30-minute maximum in the fifth padded practice.

Based on how coach Vic Fangio conducted training camp last year, Broncos players can expect 2 ½-hour sessions for the final 10 padded practices.

*Because they open on a Monday night (September 14 against the Titans at Empower Field at Mile High), Bronco players must get at least 7 days off during training camp. Players on teams who open their season on Thursday, September 10 or Sunday, September 13 will get 6 days off.

*Beginning August 3, the Broncos can have one have one walk-through session a day during the eight-day acclimation period. Besides the walk-through, the acclimation period is limited strength-and-conditioning workouts and Day 5 (August 8) is a mandatory off day. (Walk throughs are when the offense and defense can run through plays at a walking, non-contact pace.)

*Starting either August 12 or 13, the Broncos will have a four-day ramp-up period where players can practice in helmets for two days, then helmets and shells for two days.

These unique break-in periods were negotiated between the league owners and players because the COVID-19 shutdown wiped out all offseason team activities and some players had trouble finding gyms that were open.

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