Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib makes training camp debut
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Aqib Talib made his training camp debut Monday with a warm welcome from his Denver Broncos teammates and the fans on hand.
The cornerback was limited in practice but not in enthusiasm after missing the first 10 days of training camp while he recovered from a gunshot wound to his right leg suffered at a Dallas bar on June 5.
He put the physical part of the incident behind him but the consequences of that night could cost him some games. The NFL is investigating the incident and could potentially discipline Talib for violation of the league's personal conduct policy.
That wasn't the biggest thing on Talib's mind Monday. He was happy to be back on the field, even if he watched most of the practice.
''That was the most important thing, to put these cleats back on and come out here and run again,'' he said. ''It's a blessing to be out here. I really appreciate it.''
Talib started training camp on the non-football injury/illness list while he recovered from the gunshot wound. He worked with coaches over the weekend and head coach Gary Kubiak said last week that he expected Talib to start practicing soon.
He did some one-on-one drills and individual work Monday and watched situational scrimmages. He was active for about 35 minutes and said he didn't know when he would be cleared for a full practice.
''I moved around, felt pretty good,'' he said. ''We'll keep progressing and by the time we get on the field I'll be ready to go.''
Kubiak said he is easing Talib into practice as he did with linebacker Von Miller and tackle Russell Okung. He indicated Talib won't play in the preseason opener in Chicago on Thursday or against San Francisco on Aug. 20 but could play against Los Angeles the following week.
''If he makes the progress I've watched him make the last three or four days, hopefully we're talking about him getting some time against the Rams,'' he said. ''We'll see. I probably shouldn't go there yet, but I think he's going to progress really quickly.''
Kubiak said he expects Talib to play in the season opener against Carolina on Sept. 8, a rematch of the Super Bowl. The league could foil that plan when it renders a decision in Talib's case.
Talib said he couldn't talk about the shooting incident because Dallas police are still investigating.
''The situation is still under review and we've got to respect that process,'' Talib said.
Talib helped anchor the back end of the Broncos defense that dominated opponents in the playoffs, including the 24-10 win over the Panthers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. The secondary is strong again, with cornerback Bradley Roby getting first-team reps with Talib sidelined.
Roby impressed again Monday with another pick-six of Mark Sanchez, whom he victimized Saturday.
Even with the secondary playing well without Talib, the players are glad he's back.
''It was great having him back out there,'' safety T.J. Ward said. ''The leadership he brings, the energy he has, the morale, he brings the whole team up. Those dog days of camp, you need guys to bring energy and that's what he does. Besides that, having the whole defense intact is good.''
Talib said he has a greater appreciation for his job after being forced to watch while his leg heals.
''When you sit on the sideline and be away from football you see how important it is to you,'' he said. ''You definitely learn to love it a little more.''
Talib wasn't the only defensive back to make his training camp debut. The Broncos waived defensive end Kenny Anunike and signed safety Ryan Murphy.
Murphy spent 2015 on Denver's practice squad before running into trouble during Super Bowl week in Northern California. He was sent back to Colorado after being detained and questioned Feb. 2 by authorities during a prostitution sting in San Jose, California.
Murphy was released after investigators determined he was not involved in any criminal activities.
The Broncos cut him in May but brought him back Monday.
NOTES: The Broncos released their first depth chart of training camp, with Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian listed as co-No. 1 quarterbacks. Kubiak said he will likely name a starter for the Chicago game on Tuesday. ... T James Ferentz (knee) and WR Jordan Taylor (groin) were held out of practice but are expected to play against the Bears.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL