ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — And on the last day, Vic Fangio recreated Field Day.
The Broncos head coach informed his players at a team meeting Thursday morning that the final minicamp practice, which was also to be the final workout of the offseason, had been cancelled. Instead, Fangio arranged for a fun day of events presumably for team bonding and reward for an offseason well done.
There was a dunk tank and various games. Drew Lock was the defending blue-ribbon winner in the basketball shooting contest from 2019 (there was no Field Day during the pandemic season of 2020) and the team’s website showed a clip of him Thursday nailing three straight standstill shots from the outside. He was also the defending champion in the golf chipping, closest-to-the-hole contest.
>>Video above: Broncos insider Mike Klis 1-on-1 with Denver QB Drew Lock
Garett Bolles was the defending Home Run Derby champion but word was the competition was tougher this time as several players, including rookie Quinn Meinerz, parked flies deep into the berm.
It was a funky offseason in which the NFL players union announced a boycott of voluntary work at team headquarters, only to have all but one Broncos player – running back Melvin Gordon III – show up to participate before the mandatory minicamp this week. When Gordon did attend this week to avoid $93,000 in fines, it made 90 out of 90 Broncos players accounted for.
The Broncos lost two players to season-ending injuries suffered while working out away from team headquarters – right tackle Ja’Wuan James and receiver DaeSean Hamilton. Both were put on season-ending non-football injury reserve with James released.
Throughout the offseason, the Broncos conducted The Great Quarterback Competition That May Not Matter. Drew Lock, the incumbent starter, was seriously challenged by Teddy Bridgewater, a veteran past starter for the Vikings, Saints and Panthers.
Why that competition may not matter is the great quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains a hold out from the Green Bay Packers. If the Packers surrender as the regular season draws near and put Rodgers up for trade, the Broncos figure to be the first with their hand up.
The Broncos signed the two receivers from their minicamp tryout Thursday. They are former Nebraska return star De’Mornay Pierson-El and former Seattle Seahawk Amara Darboh, who had eight catches for 71 yards in 16 games in 2017.
Both have bounced around in recent years. Not signed from their group of tryout players was linebacker/special teamer Shaquem Griffin who played the previous three seasons with the Seahawks.
The Broncos cleared the two roster spaces by waiving punter Max Duffy, a rookie from Kentucky who was the top punter in the nation two years ago, and waiving linebacker Natrez Patrick with an injury designation.
On the field, the Broncos may be going through their worst 5-year stretch in 50 years, but the team continues to win awards for their work off the field. For the second year in a row, the Broncos were named a finalist for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian of the Year award for their community work during the pandemic.
The other finalists are the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, the MLS’ New York City Football Club and baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. The winner will be announced July 24.
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