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Broncos to honor owner Bowlen with Ring of Fame

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Just over 15 months after the Broncos announced that Pat Bowlen would have to step away because of Alzheimer’s disease, the Broncos will spend much of their weekend honoring their owner of 31 years, inducting him into the team’s Ring of Fame and naming their recently constructed fieldhouse after him.

Bowlen gradually scaled back involvement with the team in the years leading to his formal decision to step away from day-to-day administration in July 2014, although he remained a fixture at games through Super Bowl XLVIII.

Since then, his appearances at Broncos headquarters have been rare. He was in the 2014 team photo, but was not this year, and was instead represented by his wife, Annabel.

Annabel Bowlen also presented the Broncos’ Ring of Fame inductees last year: original kicker/wide receiver Gene Mingo, former head coach Dan Reeves and wide receiver/punt erturner Rick Unchurch.

“It’s definitely different going from seeing him once or twice a week to not at all,” said safety David Bruton Jr., a 2009 draft pick who is currently the longest-tenured player on the Broncos’ 53-man roster. “It’s definitely different.

“I know veteran guys that know the importance of Mr. Bowlen. They made sure we go say hello to him and say, ‘What’s up?’ We definitely miss his leadership for sure and again, we want to play our hearts out for him.”

–If Demaryius Thomas doesn’t drop a potential touchdown catch in Oakland or two key passes late against Cleveland, perhaps the Broncos’ last two victories wouldn’t have involved being in near-miss situations.

But just as the locker room is standing behind Peyton Manning through his recent struggles, so is it firmly in the corner of Thomas, who has played through a neck injury this month.

“We’re going to rally behind everybody,” running back C.J. Anderson said. “D.T. talks about how he dropped a couple balls, we rally behind him. I’m not playing as well as where I’d like to be right now, and they’re rallying behind me.

“We’re going to rally behind anybody on this team and in this locker room. At the end of the day, we’re brothers. We care for each other and we do a lot of things with each other outside of football. We’re going to rally behind everybody.”

Notes: Quarterback Peyton Manning threw during a Wednesday practice for the first time since Week 1. Head coach Gary Kubiak opted to have him get the extra work because of the rest afforded by the bye. … Left tackle Ty Sambrailo saw limited work Wednesday. Kubiak said the key test for him will be how well he holds up during Thursday’s practice, which will see the Broncos in pads. … Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. He missed the Browns game with back spasms but is expected to play Sunday. … Guard Evan Mathis has practiced both Monday and Wednesday as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The Broncos may give him a series or two off against the Packers, as they did against the Browns.


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