The Broncos are apparently about to find out whether Manny Ramirez or Philip Blake can cut it as an NFL center.
Incumbent center J.D. Walton is out until at least late October following surgery in June to clean out an infection in his surgically repaired left ankle.
When that infection was discovered, Denver re-signed Dan Koppen, who had filled in for Walton quite admirably in 2012.
Denver waived undrafted rookie tight end Lucas Reed on Friday and added former Kansas City tight end Jake O'Connell (6-3, 250) on Saturday to replace him.
In four seasons with the Chiefs, O'Connell started eight of the 35 games in which he appeared, totaling 15 catches for 108 yards and no touchdowns. Kansas City drafted him in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft.
The Broncos have inked 2013 first-rounder Sylvester Williams, who had been their only unsigned player. Denver selected the North Carolina defensive tackle 28th overall, and he figures to play a significant role within the team's line rotation.
According to Mike Klis, the contract is worth $7.6M over four seasons, including $3.9M up front and $6.1M in guarantees.
Speaking at Dove Valley on Wednesday, Von Miller mostly avoided questions about his four-game drug-related suspension. But when asked about whether smoking marijuana is a part of his life, he emphatically responded, "Absolutely not."
Said the All-Pro linebacker, "I don't think I let my teammates down. Everybody has tough moments in their lives. I have great teammates, teammates have been great for me."
But in a possible nod to prior issues, the third-year star added, "The guy who I was yesterday is not the guy I am today; the guy who I was two or three or four years ago is not who I am today."
Wharton spent his first eight seasons in Carolina, which of course means he's well-acquainted with John Fox and line coach Dave Magazu. He visited with the Panthers on Tuesday, but left without a deal.
Originally drafted by Carolina in 2004, the former Gamecock has started all 99 regular season games in which he's played, all of them with the Panthers.
In one of the bigger mistakes of John Elway's tenure running their football operations, Denver signed Mays to a three-year, $12M deal in March of 2012.
The contract included $4.5M in guarantees, including $500K of his 2013 salary.
Seeing reports abt 4 game susp. I know I did nothing wrong. I'm sure this'll be resolved fairly. Disapp. Broncos have 2 open camp like this.— Von Miller (@MillerLite40) July 22, 2013
Denver's nightmarish July continues, as Adam Schefter reports that all-universe linebacker Von Miller is facing a four-game drug suspension from the NFL.
Miller, who received the only vote for 2012 DPOY not marked for J.J. Watt, is said to be appealing the ban.
Obviously, there's no player more integral to the Broncos' prospects in 2013 and beyond than Peyton Manning, but Von may be a close second.
Updated 2:26pm ET
CBS4's Vic Lombardi is reporting that a "prominent" Broncos defensive starter is facing a four-game suspension from the league for substance abuse.
If Lombardi's definition of a "prominent defensive starter" matches ours, that would mean one of Von Miller, Champ Bailey, Wesley Woodyard, Derek Wolfe, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, or Rahim Moore.
Effective today, the Broncos have suspended personnel director Matt Russell indefinitely without pay and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert for one month without pay in response to their recent DUI arrests.
The organization will provide them counseling and/or treatment as necessary, and according to the team, the NFL has decided not to impose further sanctions on the two executives.
Statements were released by the team on behalf of team president Joe Ellis and VP of football ops John Elway.