2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos upgrading facilities along with roster

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-04-19 15:56

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - The Denver Broncos aren't just upgrading their roster this offseason.

In addition to their $55 million splurge in free agency and plans to sign left tackle Ryan Clady to a big contract this summer, the Broncos are spending another $35 million to fix up their stadium and training facilities.

Team President Joe Ellis said Friday the enhancements at Sports Authority Field include new high-definition scoreboards, a thousand flat-screen TVs and a refurbished concourse.

At the team's suburban headquarters, they're replacing the 22-year-old heating system beneath the team's grass football fields ``so they'll look nice and green in December, which will be good for the players, better conditions for them,'' Ellis said.

Ellis began planning the upgrades two summers ago after the new collective bargaining agreement gave clubs a clearer picture of future revenue projections.

Also in the blueprints are a better stadium wireless network to accommodate all 75,000 fans trying to send photos from their phones and a new indoor practice facility next to the team's outdoor fields so the players don't have to shuttle on buses to a cramped bubble during bad weather.

The stadium upgrades are all part of enhancing the stadium experience to keep no-shows to a minimum. NFL attendance has taken a hit with fans opting to stay at home and watch on their big-screen TVs.

``It's a valid point. It's probably one of the top three initiatives that the commissioner has imposed on all of the clubs,'' Ellis said. ``You know, we're faced with the comfortable environment of the home screen, the television set, the high-definition 52-plus inch screen, the refrigerator five feet away, the comfortable couch, the ability to access multiple games, the Red Zone Channel, things of that nature.

``I know we have to do everything we can to make the in-stadium experience match that.''

With this year's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Broncos are waiting to see if all goes well in the cold climes to see if the owners would support a bid to bring the game to Denver sometime soon. The stadium facelift would surely help such a bid.

``It wasn't really done part and parcel, to be fair, to be honest,'' Ellis said. ``But certainly you'd have to have something like that if you wanted to make a bid. ... But the question probably needs to be asked again the second week of February after we see what happens in New York.''

The Broncos shouldn't have any trouble filling seats this season with an enhanced supporting cast surrounding Peyton Manning and a 2013 schedule that features Mike Shanahan's return on Oct. 27 and a rematch against Baltimore on the league's now-traditional Thursday night opener Sept. 5.

With five prime-time kickoffs, Ellis suggested the schedule reflects the Broncos' return to prominence.

``That's something that we wouldn't have had a few years ago, so we've elevated our status as a team, and that's a testimony to the hard work of John Elway, John Fox and our coaching staff and most importantly, the players,'' Ellis said. ``We're in a good place as a team right now.''

It all starts when the Super Bowl champions travel to Denver for the opener. The Orioles are home that night and Major League Baseball could not move their game, so the Ravens will start out on the road - and against a team they upset in double-overtime in the playoffs.

The traditional 48-hour celebration of concerts and parties will still take place in Baltimore that day.

Ellis said he figures Elway is as driven by Denver's 38-35 loss to Baltimore three months ago as he was by an 30-27 loss to Jacksonville at home in 1997 that was followed by the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1998 and `99.

Elway returned to the franchise as executive vice president of football operations in 2011. Ellis said he's certain Elway is in this for the long haul.

``Yes. He's dug in,'' Ellis said, noting, for example, Elway's hands-on approach in the team's draft preparations this week. ``I don't see him wavering with that at all. I think he's very good about delegating and listening, but also strong enough and confident enough in his knowledge and his opinions to have the courage of his convictions and make good decisions on behalf of the organization, as I said, short-term and long-term. I believe he's going to be here for a while.''

While the team will continue upgrading its practice facilities in the coming years, Ellis said team owner Pat Bowlen's top priority is ``to put a competitive team on the field.''

``That's the most important thing to Mr. Bowlen. He feels he's defined by how many Super Bowls he wins, and he hasn't won one in a long time,'' Ellis said. ``That's really his first goal.''

But getting an indoor practice facility is high on the team's wish list.

``If we had one, we'd use it a lot more than people realize. We have lightning strikes during training camp; we have situations where maybe it's better to practice indoors even though you could practice outdoors,'' Ellis said. ``That's something we are working on.''

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

Morgan BurnettJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) and SS Tanner Miller (undisclosed) are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Micah HydeJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is working with the first-team defense at strong safety beside FS Micah Hyde Thursday, July 31.

Lardarius WebbJul 31 09:23a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back), DE Brent Urban (knee), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), OG Will Rackley (concussion) and WR Jeremy Butler (undisclosed) are out of practice Thursday, July [ More ]

Terrell SuggsJul 31 09:03a

Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata and LB Daryl Smith are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Nate GarnerJul 31 08:53a

Miami Dolphins C Nate Garner is working with the first-team offense again Thursday, July 31, over C Shelley Smith.

A.J. HawkJul 31 01:53a

Green Bay Packers LB Brad Jones has been working ahead of LB A.J. Hawk as the lone linebacker in the dime defense in practice.

Matt CasselJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater saw reps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday, July 30. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, QB Matt Cassel appears to lead the [ More ]

Christian PonderJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder's reps were cut during practice Wednesday, July 30.

Josh GordonJul 30 11:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage III of the NFL's substance-abuse program, and a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension. For Gordon, only two options exist: [ More ]

Rod StreaterJul 30 11:43p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) participated in warmups and drills Wednesday, July 30, but he sat out team sessions. Streater suffered a concussion Monday, July 28, and has [ More ]

Joique BellJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he looked good cutting and accelerating with ease during [ More ]

Rob SimsJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions OG Rob Sims (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he held his own working against DT Nick Fairley [ More ]

Allen RobinsonJul 30 10:13p

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (and fellow rookie WR Marqise Lee) have seen plenty of opportunity at training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and [ More ]

Marqise LeeJul 30 10:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (and fellow rookie WR Allen Robinson) have seen more reps in training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and WR Ace Sanders (personal) sidelined. [ More ]

Carl NicksJul 30 08:03p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released OG Carl Nicks (toe) Wednesday, July 30, with an injury settlement.

David WilsonJul 30 06:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) tweeted that he is fine after leaving practice early Tuesday, July 29. Wilson said he passed all physical examinations and will find out more Monday, Aug. 3.

Jim LeonhardJul 30 05:53p

The Cleveland Browns signed SS Jim Leonhard (Bills) Wednesday, July 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Aldon SmithJul 30 04:43p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is not participating in practice Wednesday, July 30, as he attends a hearing at the Los Angeles City Attorney's office regarding an April [ More ]

Fred JacksonJul 30 04:13p

The Buffalo Bills have signed RB Fred Jackson to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jason GarrettJul 30 03:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) will undergo surgery for a broken foot Thursday, July 31, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

LaMichael JamesJul 30 03:03p

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James (elbow) will wear a brace on his dislocated elbow and should be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Brent UrbanJul 30 02:23p

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (leg) and DT Timmy Jernigan (back) appear to have suffered injuries during practice Wednesday, July 30. Urban was helped off the field after suffering the injury.

Tyron SmithJul 30 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith has agreed to terms with the team on an eight-year contract extension worth $98 million, according to a source.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group