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Fans arrive in droves to honor Bowlen at public tribute

Tue Jun 18 5:34pm ET
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer

Fans gather for photographs at the foot of a statue during a five-hour memorial for Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Fans gather at the foot of a statue at a five-hour memorial Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Fans queue up to attend a memorial for Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Fans look at a wall of notes at a five-hour memorial for Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos fan Clinton Mayfield holds up a card to mark the five-hour memorial for team owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Fans file past a wall of flowers with a portrait of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen placed in the center during a memorial Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


From left, Denver Broncos fans Clinton Mayfield, Ralph Williams and James Chavez head out of a five-hour memorial for team owner Pat Bowlen Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at Mile High Stadium, the NFL football team's home in Denver. Bowlen, who has owned the franchise for more than three decades, died last Thursday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


DENVER (AP) Some wore full costumes and others sported jerseys, including one Denver Broncos supporter with "P. Bowlen" on the back. Quite a few devotees stood in the rain for about an hour before making their way inside the stadium.

The fans arrived in droves Tuesday to pay respect to owner Pat Bowlen, who died last week at 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer's, and just two months shy of his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The public tribute to Bowlen at Broncos Stadium at Mile High featured all sorts of memorabilia, including his famous fur coat , Super Bowl trophies , vintage photos, videos and numerous footballs marking big moments. Then there was his desk, which was noteworthy for a piece of paper resting in his in-box . It was a to-do list containing three items: be No. 1 in everything; beat the Raiders; win the Super Bowl.

Of course, all three boxes were checked.

''He'd be incredibly overwhelmed by all this support and love,'' said Brittany Bowlen, who along with her siblings stood in line for hours greeting fans as they made their way through the exhibit. ''It's pretty astonishing, to see all these artifacts and things that were important to him in life. He'd be incredibly overwhelmed by the support. It would be moving for him.''

Super fan Jesse Esquibel wore some of his game-day outfit for the occasion, including a mask. He's known as ''Bronco Reaper,'' a name he selected after experiencing a few near-death encounters throughout his life. Another supporter wore an orange Darth Vader helmet.

''I wanted to show,'' Esquibel said, ''that Broncos fans are fans through and through.''

Peyton Manning was in attendance. So was John Elway. Longtime receiver Rod Smith recounted a golf game when he partnered with Bowlen and they took on coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Brian Griese.

''We ended up winning. You should've seen his face - he was fired up,'' Smith said. ''In the weight room, didn't matter where he was, on the treadmill, Pat was competitive.''

Very much so.

Bowlen had as many Super Bowl appearances (seven) as losing seasons, and Denver went 354-240-1 since he bought the club in 1984. The team won Super Bowls in 1998, `99 and 2016.

''There's not a person in this community who's had a more profound impact on Denver and the state of Colorado and really the Rocky Mountain region than Pat Bowlen,'' Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. ''I wanted to make sure I came and paid my respects to the family and the memory of a great man who's done a lot for all of us.''

A private funeral service will be held Monday, with Bowlen's good friend John Finney delivering the eulogy. Finney, who lives in Honolulu, has so many rich stories from their longtime friendship. Like how they used to paddle a canoe through giant waves in Hawaii, or how they opened a business together, or their trips on Bowlen's jet.

''He had a lot of friends from all walks of life here, from beach boys to bankers,'' Finney said in a phone conversation. ''He was devoted to the Broncos and devoted to winning.''

Finney recalled the time Bowlen came back to Hawaii soon after the Broncos were beaten 55-10 by the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 24. Bowlen steered clear of their beach club for about a month, knowing he would be razzed.

''So Pat finally shows up after a long absence and (someone) says, `Great game, brah,''' Finney cracked. ''We're always teasing one another.''

A competitor with class, that was Bowlen's reputation.

''There was not a dishonest bone in his body,'' Finney said. ''He was so respected in the NFL, because the other owners could trust him. He wanted to be part of the betterment of the NFL, and it worked.''

On Feb. 7, 2016, Elway thrust the Lombardi Trophy into the air and hollered, ''This one's for Pat!'' That moment came 18 years after Bowlen had declared, ''This one's for John!'' following the franchise's first Super Bowl championship.

And on Tuesday, Beth Bowlen Wallace paid respect to the legion of Broncos fans that showed up by saying: ''This one is definitely for you all.''

Player Notes
Demaryius Thomas Jul 22 12:50am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas will open training camp on the team's PUP list. This isn't that much of a surprise as the veteran receiver continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered last season. But the situation could have fantasy consequences in a few weeks when the Patriots must make their first cuts. If Thomas cannot practice by then, the team may be forced to keep him on the PUP list. This would make the 31-year-old ineligible for the first six regular season games and further damage the value of a player on the back-end of a very productive career.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Jul 22 12:40am ET

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From RotoBaller

DeAndre Carter Jul 21 7:10pm ET

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From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Jul 21 6:00pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens placed offensive guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Sunday. He is still recovering from shoulder surgery performed in January. Lewis has started 18 games over the past two seasons, but he was unable to perform during the offseason program. OG Jermaine Elumunor has been working with the first-team offense in his absence. The offensive line is a concern for the fantasy outlooks of quarterback Lamar Jackson, the pass game and the running game, so keep a close eye on the blocking of the Ravens during training camp and into the preseason games.

From RotoBaller

Charles Clay Jul 21 5:50pm ET

Arizona Cardinals tight end Charles Clay (knee) is dealing with a knee issue and he was one of six players the team placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Sunday leading up to the open of training camp this week. Clay can be activated at any point, but he cannot do any on-field work until he is activated. He is challenging for a potential starting job, so he'll want to get on the field as soon as possible. The Arizona offense promises to be rather prolific under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, although with plenty of four- and five-receiver sets, it's uncertain how much the tight end will see of the field. Stay tuned.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Williams Jul 21 5:40pm ET

The Arizona Cardinals placed defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (knee) on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Sunday. The team also placed linebacker Dante Booker (knee), OL Max Garcia (knee), LB Brooks Reed (hip) and CB Brandon Williams (back) on the PUP. In addition to those moves, they released OL William Holden and DL Immanuel Turner, while signing DL Sterling Bailey. PUP players are eligible to return any point during training camp, but cannot take part in on-field work until they're taking off the list. Nkemdiche and Garcia are each making their way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during the 2018 season.

From RotoBaller

Kahale Warring Jul 21 5:10pm ET

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From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Jul 21 4:50pm ET

The Houston Texans have placed wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the active/PUP list. What this means is that Hopkins, who's been dealing with a shoulder injury, will be unable to practice with the team as long as he's on the list, but Hopkins can be activated from the list at any time. There should be no concern at this point about Hopkins' availability for Week 1, though it would be surprising if we see him at all in the preseason. Hopkins is a clear first round pick in all formats and is capable of finishing as the overall WR1 based on what he's shown in the past in this Houston offense.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Jul 21 4:00pm ET

Rumors that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones might hold out have turned out to not be true, as Jones has reported to training camp. Jones and the team will continue to talk about a long-term extension for the wideout, but it doesn't look like there's any danger of Jones missing time or getting behind on his conditioning. He remains one of the top wide receivers in fantasy football and should be a first round pick in all formats.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Thomas Jul 21 12:50pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas recently suggested that Houston will use a committee approach at tight end with Thomas, Jordan Akins, and rookie Kahale Warring, but Thomas is expected to be the leader of that committee and the player most likely to be a weapon in Houston's passing game. Thomas caught four touchdowns last season, but he saw his snap percentage fade as the season went along. Even if Thomas gets the most snaps, quarterback Deshaun Watson doesn't target tight ends at a rate that would make Thomas a sustainable fantasy starter.

From RotoBaller

Josh Harvey-Clemons Jul 21 11:03am ET

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From TheHuddle

Mason Foster Jul 21 10:53am ET

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Preston Smith Jul 21 10:53am ET

Former Washington Redskins LB Preston Smith had attracted interest from the Indianapolis Colts during free agency before he ultimately signed with the Green Bay Packers.

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Will Fuller Jul 21 1:43am ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (knee) is expected to be completely recovered from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in time to play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Fantasy Spin: Fuller missed the entirety of spring workouts and figures to be limited at best early in training camp, but he will be roughly 10 months removed from surgery by the time the Texans visit the Saints on Sept. 9. Of course, his biggest challenge will be staying on the field - something he has struggled to do as a pro. He's a high-end WR3 who owners need to have a backup plan for, as he has missed 17 of a possible 48 games in his three-year NFL career.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Jul 20 11:03pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill could be traded early next season if a contract extension can't be worked out, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

Fantasy Spin: Hill should be headed for another year of WR1 production as one of the main weapons in Kansas City's high-powered offense, but his ceiling could change dramatically if he switches teams. The trade talk is just speculation for now, but it is one more reason to try to acquire Mecole Hardman in keeper formats.

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Jaron Brown Jul 20 10:53pm ET

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Amara Darboh Jul 20 10:53pm ET

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David Moore Jul 20 10:43pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Tyler Lockett is likely to be the top target in the passing attack, but the pecking order is wide open from there. With Seattle looking to replace Doug Baldwin, Moore could be worth a flier as a WR5.

From TheHuddle

D'Onta Foreman Jul 20 10:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Lamar Miller enters 2019 as the starter, but he is also in a contract year. Foreman is a high-end handcuff in redraft leagues for now, but his upside in keeper formats is enormous. By next season, he could be the featured back in a potent offense.

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Jordan Akins Jul 20 9:43pm ET

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From TheHuddle