McGahee largely an observer as minicamp opens

Willis McGahee was back at Dove Valley on Tuesday, as expected, although he cited "family obligations" as the cause for his having missed all of Denver's (non-mandatory) OTAs.

Like they had during his absence, second-year back Ronnie Hillman and 2013 second-rounder Montee Ball received the bulk of the day's reps, with the veteran only seeing the field for what he called "a couple" of snaps.

Still, McGahee says he expects to be the starter come Week 1, even while acknowledging his place "on the bubble."

The tenth-year back, who will turn 32 during the season, is due a $2.5M salary in 2013; cutting him would save $2M against the cap and leave $1M in dead money on it.

Hillman and Ball are of course far cheaper, and are locks to stick on the roster given their ages and when they were drafted.

Knowshon Moreno, who ran routes on Tuesday after being limited to pass blocking reps last week, is due a $1.7M salary in the final year of his rookie contract. The team would only save $945K against the cap were they to cut Moreno, for whom they are believed to hold a team option in 2014.

Lance Ball will earn a $1.323M salary if he sticks, while Jacob Hester is due just $715K. Neither player would leave any dead money behind if they were to be cut.

Ryan Clady - who is rehabbing his surgically repaired right shoulder in California and has yet to sign his $9.828M franchise tender - was not in attendance, while J.D. Walton, Chris Kuper, Joel Dreessen, and Quinton Carter are recuperating from their own surgeries and did not participate Tuesday.

Shaun Phillips was excused from practice but attended meetings.

Here are videos of John Fox, Peyton Manning, Eric DeckerWillis McGahee, and Champ Bailey speaking after practice, plus photos from the day's work.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM