The defending Super Bowl champs are back at work.
Over two months later, it's still awesome to say that. Rest assured, being the defending champs adds to the motivation for the Denver Broncos as the grind begins.
The Broncos returned to the UCHealth Training Center on Monday in Englewood to begin the first phase of the offseason program. Phase I is "voluntary," and is just workouts. Coaches can conduct meetings but not practice. This portion of the program runs through Wednesday.
Players like Russell Okung who have a workout bonus in their contract, have no choice but to attend. Though he won't participate because of a shoulder injury as he continues to rehab.
Gary Kubiak has said he expects everyone to attend, save for linebacker Von Miller, who is "Dancing with the Stars" and still on the hunt for a long-term contract extension from Denver.
Great to see you, @BMarshh54. pic.twitter.com/wZZJWRAWet— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 18, 2016
There were rumblings linebacker Brandon Marshall may not attend as he seeks a contract extension, but he showed up for the first day. NFL Network's Ian Rapoprt tweeted that Marshall did not sign his restricted free agent tender, but is participating in workouts. Rapoport added Marshall will sign a waiver.
With the turnover the Broncos have on the offensive line and quarterback, and guys who return from injury, it's the first time for them to gather as a team and build on the bond that led to a Super Bowl win.
It's the first time guys like Mark Sanchez and Donald Stephenson get a feel for what it's like to be a member of the Broncos.
It's the first chance for Jeff Heuerman and Ty Sambrailo to get back with their teammates as they look to make major contributions to the team after season-ending injuries.
The offseason program divides into segments with Phase II in mid-May, organized team activities (OTAs) in late May and early June, followed by mandatory mini-camp on June 7-9. There is an expectation Denver's trip to the White House will happen around early June.
After contract signings, two safeties will take part in the workouts.
#Broncos re-sign safety Shioh Keo, add veteran safety Brandian Ross— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 18, 2016
The Broncos re-signed Shiloh Keo and signed Brandian Ross to one-year contracts.
Keo played in four games with Denver last season, and is perhaps best known for recovering the onside kick in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. Keo got his contract, in part, from tweeting defensive coordinator Wade Phillips last season.
Ross is a fifth-year player who has played with the Oakland Raiders (2012-14), Miami Dolphins (2014) and San Diego Chargers (2015).
As the Broncos said in their news release, from 2013-14, Ross started 23-of-29 games for the Raiders and totaled the third-most tackles (127) on the team during that time. After playing one game for Miami to end the 2014 season, Ross competed with Oakland during training camp in 2015 and ultimately signed with San Diego during the regular season, seeing action in one game for the Chargers.
As with Ross, this is Keo's fifth year in the NFL.
Both add needed depth at the safety position for Denver.