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Bronco notes: Grieving Noah Fant thankful for team support

Purcell suffers ankle sprain. Von, Kareem, Shelby get vet days.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — They are professional football players, adored by many, heroes to kids.

And they are human beings who suffer like everyone else.

Noah Fant is a marvelously skilled physical specimen who has the rare combination of size (6-4, 250), speed (4.5 seconds in the 40) and elite athleticism that allows him to catch (102 receptions his first two NFL seasons) and block as a Broncos’ first-round draft pick and two-year starting tight end.

>>Video above: 9NEWS insider Mike Klis 1-on-1 with Broncos GM George Paton on eve of training camp

But Fant’s emotions are still in the raw stages of grieving for his mom Kathy Jean Fant who passed away unexpectantly at 53 in early May. Few things are tougher than losing your mom.

"I’m doing good, man," Fant said following Day 3 of Broncos’ training camp Friday. "I think about her every day, but it’s a part of life. She and my dad prepared me for times like this. I’ve been relying on my faith a lot and relying on my teammates. They’ve been helping me out a lot. Justin (Simmons) is another one that I talk to quite a bit. They’ve been helping me out a lot and just being there for me. Von (Miller) asks me every day how I’m doing and asks me when my dad is coming out. We have some great guys on this team."

Miller, Drew Lock, coaches Vic Fangio and Wade Harmon, and general manager George Paton flew out to Mrs. Fant’s funeral in Omaha.

"When they all came out and showed support at the funeral, it literally made me tear up because that’s the stuff that means the most to me," Fant said. "Those guys caring that much to come to Omaha, Nebraska is something that was huge. I’m doing well. This season is going to be a good one, so I’m excited."

Credit: Brian Olson/KUSA

Purcell limps off

Broncos defensive tackle Mike Purcell, who missed the final 10 games last season with a Lisfranc injury that required surgery, limped off the field during practice Friday and headed into the locker room with an ankle injury.

"The early prognosis is a sprain, but we'll see," Fangio said.

Vet day

Miller and Kareem Jackson were given practice off Friday, although they participated in the team stretch and observed. Shelby Harris practiced early, but then got the rest of the day off.

Fangio also rested veteran receiver Tim Patrick, who had leg soreness.

"He could have practiced; but I trumped the medical people," Fangio said. "I get a joy out of that sometimes."

Credit: Brian Olson/KUSA

Bronco Bits

The Broncos practiced in soft shoulder shells Friday and will again Saturday and, after taking Sunday off, Monday. Full pads go on Tuesday. …

It’s getting intense in the trenches but there’s been no skirmish yet three days into camp. "We haven’t had a full-fledged fight break out," said left guard Dalton Risner. "We’re in Day 3. Usually about a week into camp, everyone starts getting a little grouchy, coach says it’s going to be a 2 ½-hour practice, we throw the full pads on -- you guys will probably want to be there for that day because I’ll probably be in the middle of it."

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