Fri Jul 19 3:23pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) takes a hand off from quarterback Joe Flacco during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco throws a pass during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders runs a route during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello directs tight end Troy Fumagalli (84) during drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 19, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos' revamped offense features a half-dozen key players coming back from injuries that ended their 2018 seasons prematurely.
Right guard Ronald Leary thinks so.
Like receiver Emmanuel Sanders, Leary is coming off a torn Achilles tendon.
Tight ends Troy Fumagalli (sports hernia) and Jake Butt (ACL) are also embarking on comebacks, as are Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay (wrist) and new quarterback Joe Flacco , whose hip injury cost him his starting job last year in Baltimore when the Ravens turned over things to rookie Lamar Jackson.
All six players say their injuries forced them to reflect during rehab and gave them a newfound appreciation for football.
Collectively, Leary suggested that will prove a benefit as the Broncos embark on another new scheme under new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.
''All the guys you named coming back from injury are big parts of this offense,'' Leary said Friday. ''And especially when the game's taken away from you with a significant injury, you appreciate everything more. Not saying we didn't appreciate it already, but when it's just like anything in life, when something's taken away from you, you appreciate it even more.
''I think we got a lot to bring the offense, a lot of juice. We've got the right mentality coming into camp. I mean, all of our teammates are happy to see us coming back.''
Leary said he realized during his recovery that he has more resilience and patience than he thought, and he's sure he's not alone in that discovery.
''With the type of injury I had there was so much down time in the beginning where you can't do anything,'' Leary said. ''You're just sitting around. So, I started reading more, just talking to my wife more, just learning more about myself and just realizing how much I appreciate the game, how much harder I wanted to work in rehab to get back out on that field.''
Leary was cleared near the end of OTAs, but Sanders and Lindsay missed the Broncos' entire offseason program. Both were back on the field this week, however, when the Broncos became the first NFL team to open training camp.
''Moving around, feeling no pain, feeling good and feeling like myself,'' Sanders declared. ''I know a lot of people didn't expect that, so it's just a testament of all the hard work I put in, all the pain that I went through to be standing here.''
Although Sanders is limited, he's building a rapport with Flacco by being on the field during camp instead of the sideline .
''Flacco is a baller,'' Sanders said. ''I think things are going to be OK. I think we're going to be OK. I like the way he spins the ball. I think we will have a lot of success this year. ... I call him `Pretty Boy' Flacco. That's his name. He's just smooth.''
Much like Peyton Manning did in 2012 after missing an entire season in Indianapolis following a series of neck fusion surgeries, Flacco is coming to Denver with a shot at resurrecting his career following an injury.
''There is an energy about coming here and an excitement that I feel about coming to this new team and getting another chance to be a starting quarterback in this league,'' Flacco said.
General manager John Elway said, ''Any time you get traded midway in your career or two-thirds of the way through your career, you've got something to prove.''
''Yeah, there's no doubt,'' Flacco agreed. ''Listen, I think I've got a lot left in the tank. And I feel like I can do a lot more than I've shown in my 11-year career. I'm excited about that.''
And starting his first training camp outside Baltimore, Flacco said, ''I feel like a little kid.''
So does Lindsay, who hated having to watch fellow running backs Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman get carries while he continued his rehab during OTAs.
''I like the grind. I like being tired. I like the sweat, the blood, the tears,'' Lindsay said. ''That's what I'm here for.''
NOTES: Alexander Johnson was the first of many ILBs who filled in for Todd Davis, the team's leading tackler last season, who is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a partial tear of his right calf.
July 16th: Training Camp Preview
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told ESPN reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala that his arm "feels really good" in a Zoom call on Tuesday. Roethlisberger missed almost all of the 2019 season after tearing three flexor tendons in his right elbow. The veteran quarterback also stated that he has thrown way more than usual during the offseason and is in tremendous shape entering his age-38 season. Many signs point to a revitalized Pittsburgh offense this season with Roethlisberger back under center, although there is at least some concern as he's entering his 17th NFL season and has a long injury history. That being said, he's still a huge upgrade on offense over Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges from a year ago. Draft Big Ben as an upside QB2 in fantasy drafts this month.
Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Andrew Billings has opted out of the upcoming 2020 season. Billings is the third Cleveland player to opt out, joining guard Drew Forbes and tackle Drake Dorbeck. The 25-year-old left the Cincinnati Bengals as a free-agent to sign a one-year deal with the Browns during the offseason and, while not in line to start, was expected to join the team's rotation at the DT position. Billings' vacancy should be a positive for third-round rookie Jordan Elliott, who will see a larger role on defense now.
San Francisco 49ers WR Trent Taylor (foot) passed his physical and is healthy heading into training camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) threw passes during practice Monday, Aug. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger missed most of the 2019 season because of an elbow injury but appears to be on track for Week 1. He posted terrific numbers in 2018 and should be considered a low-end No. 1 or a No. 2 quarterback in standard leagues.
New York Giants QB Alex Tanney (undisclosed) passed his physical Monday, Aug. 3, and was activated from the Active/Non-Football Injury list.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Penny is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. Fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation but may want to avoid Penny until he returns to practice. Chris Carson will receive most of the carries and should be a weekly starting option in all leagues.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook arrived at camp last Tuesday despite previously stating that he would not report unless he received a new deal. However, under the new collective bargaining agreement, the 24-year-old ran the risk of becoming a restricted free agent beyond 2020 by not showing up, something he ultimately did not want to do. Cook had a breakout season in 2019, finishing with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 53 catches for 519 yards and was also one of the most prolific runners after contact. He is slated to make $1.3 million if an agreement isn't reached. Nonetheless, with the team vowing to work to get a new deal done, fantasy managers can feel a bit more confident by selecting Cook in the first round of fantasy drafts for the upcoming campaign.
Minnesota Vikings LB Ben Gedeon (undisclosed) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.
Miami Dolphins LB Jerome Baker was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.
Las Vegas Raiders CB Jordan Brown, TE Paul Butler, PK Dominik Eberle, C Erik Magnuson, LS Liam McCullough and WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams were waived Monday, Aug. 3. The team also waived LB Marquel Lee with a failed physical designation.
Minnesota Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo and LB Anthony Barr were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.
New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa was released Monday, Aug. 3.
New York Jets RB Trenton Cannon, LB Wyatt Ray and OG Benjamin Braden were waived Monday, Aug. 3.
Free-agent TE Jerell Adams (Saints) signed with the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Aug. 3. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Chicago Bears TE Eric Saubert and DT John Jenkins were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3.
San Francisco 49ers WR Richie James (hand, thumb) was transferred from the Reserve/COVID-19 list to the Active/Non-Football Injury list Monday, Aug. 3.
San Francisco 49ers WR Sean Poindexter (undisclosed) and DE Kentavius Street (undisclosed) were activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, Aug. 3.
Cleveland Browns QB Garrett Gilbert was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, Aug. 3. P Jamie Gillan was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. S Karl Joseph (foot) was also placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list and RB Brian Herrien was waived.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Moritz Bohringer was waived Monday, Aug. 3.