UPDATED 4/28/11 - Wednesday marked the end of the Broncos' pre-draft visits, meetings and workouts, and as promised we've been tracking them all. The prospects are listed in groupings by position, along with their school, the nature of their reported interaction with the Broncos (whether it be a Dove Valley visit, private workout, Combine meeting, or reported interest) and the most recent source (with link) to confirm those interactions.
Here is the 2011 schedule; all times are expressed in Broncos Standard Time.
|1||Monday||Sep 12, 2011||Oakland Raiders||8:15 PM|
|2||Sunday||Sep 18, 2011||Cincinnati Bengals||2:15 PM|
|3||Sunday||Sep 25, 2011||at Tennessee Titans||11:00 AM|
|4||Sunday||Oct 2, 2011||at Green Bay Packers||2:15 PM|
|5||Sunday||Oct 9, 2011||San Diego Chargers||2:15 PM|
|7||Sunday||Oct 23, 2011||at Miami Dolphins||11:00 AM|
|8||Sunday||Oct 30, 2011||Detroit Lions||2:05 PM|
|9||Sunday||Nov 6, 2011||at Oakland Raiders||2:05 PM|
|10||Sunday||Nov 13, 2011||at Kansas City Chiefs||11:00 AM|
|11||Thursday||Nov 17, 2011||New York Jets||6:20 PM|
|12||Sunday||Nov 27, 2011||at San Diego Chargers||2:15 PM|
|13||Sunday||Dec 4, 2011||at Minnesota Vikings||2:05 PM|
|14||Sunday||Dec 11, 2011||Chicago Bears||2:05 PM|
|15||Sunday||Dec 18, 2011||New England Patriots||2:15 PM|
|16||Saturday||Dec 24, 2011||at Buffalo Bills||11:00 AM|
|17||Sunday||Jan 1, 2012||Kansas City Chiefs||2:15 PM|
As per the DP, the Broncos will open the 2011 season on September 12 at home against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. According to Klis, the Broncos will also host the NJ Jets in a Thursday night matchup. The full schedule will be released sometime after the top of the hour.
The Broncos announced their preseason opponents today:
Wk. 1 at Dallas (Aug. 11-15)
Wk. 2 vs. Buffalo (Aug. 18-22)
Wk. 3 vs. Seattle (Aug. 25-29)
Wk. 4 at Arizona (Sept. 1-2)
As previously announced, the Broncos' regular season slate will feature home games versus Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, New England and the NJ Jets, with road games at Buffalo, Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota and Tennessee, along with the customary home and away games versus division rivals Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego. Times and dates for both the exhibition and regular seasons will be announced later in the month.
In the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated due to hit newsstands this week, Atlanta magazine senior associate editor and SI freelancer Thomas Lake revisits the murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. The lengthy and engrossing article explores the backgrounds of Williams, his convicted killer "Little" Willie Clark, and Williams' friend and teammate Javon Walker, in whose arms Williams perished. While expectedly saddening, Lake's retelling of the events from that fateful New Year's Eve of 2006 casts more light on the roles ex-Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and his cousin played in the night-long conflict, including the perceived likelihood that they were the intended targets of Clark's gunfire.
According to the Gazette's former Broncos reporter and current Air Force beat guy Frank Schwab, defensive lineman Ben Garland has passed on the opportunity to enroll in the Air Force's pilot training school in order to eventually pursue an NFL career. According to Schwab, in a year's time Garland can submit request that his military commitment be converted to a longer reserve assignment, and which if granted would allow him to join the Broncos in 2012 ala former LB Steve Russ (also an Air Force alum and special-teams stalwart on both of Denver's SB-winning teams and now the LB coach for Wake Forest). Garland is a native of Grand Junction, CO and was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent on April 26 of last year.
Current Bronco and former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins spoke with Tim McManus of Philly Sports Daily recently and addressed the serious issue of concussions both mild and severe. Frighteningly, Dawkins told McManus it's impossible to keep track of all the mild head injuries he's suffered throughout his career that didn't take him off the field. Meanwhile, the notoriously hard hitter said he believes he's suffered four concussions that have knocked him out cold and/or caused him memory loss. Dawkins said,
It’s a concern, and it should be a concern to everybody...We have to make sure that the men who play the game are protected for long after they are done so that our legends can be living legends.
According to a multitude of reports on Twitter, the owners have accepted the players' offer to extend the CBA talks for another seven days. The new deadline will be next Friday (March 11) at 5pm ET, and mediated negotiations will resume on Monday. This extension is purely for the sake of working toward a new CBA, so no player transactions will be permitted.
The Broncos have announced via Twitter that veteran defenders Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams have been released just a year after both were originally signed as free agents. Bannan earned $10.5 million in guarantees as part of his deal with Denver and was due a $500,000 roster bonus and $3.5 million salary in 2011. Williams received $7 million in guarantees with his contract and according to Mike Klis was set to earn a $1 million roster bonus an $4.2 million in salary. Along with the release of Daniel Graham yesterday, Denver has cut $14.4 million in salary and bonus obligations from their 2011 payroll. See Andrew Mason's latest entry for more details.
Also, the Broncos have chosen not to tender RB Laurence Maroney, who was acquired midseason with a sixth-round pick from New England in return for a fourth-rounder.
Update 5:38PM ET - As for the CBA negotiation: according to Jim Trotter via Twitter,
the sides have agreed on the 24-hour extension. they're awaiting approval from judge doty. should be a formality.
Tight end Daniel Graham has been released by the Broncos today after four seasons with the team. Meanwhile, Denver extended qualifying offers to several veteran players - right tackle Ryan Harris, placekicker Matt Prater, defensive linemen Marcus Thomas and Kevin Vickerson, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
UPDATE 10:13PM ET - According to Klis, Woodyard and Prater received second-round tenders worth $1.835 million, while Harris, Thomas and Vickerson received original round tenders worth $1.2 miliion. However, in the likely case that the next NFL season is played under a new CBA, those latter three players will all be unrestricted free agents.
7:48PM ET - Via Josina and Twitter, Marcus Thomas' agent says the player will not be signing his tender and wants to test unrestricted free agency, for what that's worth...