ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Not to say there’s more energy at Broncos headquarters this year but the story at this time last year was about all the players who skipped out on voluntary workouts.
There’s such a new vibe at Denver’s team headquarters this year -- what with the new head coach, an almost entirely new coaching staff and one new star quarterback -- that the story is about … the new vibe.
"I can speak for my decision," said safety Justin Simmons, one of about 22 players who obeyed the players’ union wishes to stay away from voluntary workouts last year but present for Day 1 this year. "I don’t think Russ or anything like that had to do with my decision on showing up or not showing up. I just think it’s a new culture, it’s a new staff, and as one of the leaders on this team, I feel like it’s important to show up and be present and start building the camaraderie.
"Because no matter how many guys are back from last year’s team, it’s just different. It’s new. There’s new relationships to build. And you want to build that rapport now, in person.
"There were a lot of complications with last year. By no means am I saying COVID is over but it was still running rampant and it was high. There were a lot of things that altered guys’ decisions but I think this year it’s different. Like I said new team, new staff, new culture, it’s just important to be here."
>>Video above: Klis & Tell: Walton's bid on Broncos, voluntary workouts begin, Malik Reed signs free agent tender
After primarily taking physical exams on Monday, the Broncos first conditioning workout was Tuesday. The Broncos brought out two of its most recognizable – Simmons and receiver Courtland Sutton – to the new media room that shares similar characteristics to a bomb shelter. (Heaven help the world if Denver’s press corps is left to rebuild it).
Much of the banter before and during the press conferences was about how the acquisition of Russell Wilson has lifted the spirits around the building.
"You all can feel it, we all can feel it, the juice is just different," Sutton said. "I wasn’t around when Peyton came (in 2012) but from what I’m hearing the juice and the energy is pretty similar. Knowing we have a guy who has been at the top of that mountain before. Has won a Super Bowl before. Does know what it’s like to be at the highest level for his position and to lead a team to a Super Bowl.
"I think everyone in the building understands the expectations. The standards have been risen to everyone’s best from the cooks to the equipment guys, video, everyone. Everyone in the building is understanding we have to operate at a different level.
"It’s Russ plus coach Hackett, the new coaching staff, I think everyone is bringing that new juice, that new energy into the building and I think everyone is buying into it."
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