Manning impresses new teammates
His passes were hitting receivers in stride and right between the numbers, not skipping off the ground or whizzing behind their heads like so many of Tim Tebow’s.
The Denver Broncos got their first real taste of Peyton Manning on Monday with a spirited, fast-paced workout in Englewood, Colo., the four-time MVP’s first full practice in more than 16 months.
“It felt good to be out there,’’ Manning said. “It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve been in uniform, been in an organized practice. So, it felt good to be out there. And it will be a good film to study.’’
Monday also was the first chance for the media to get a look at the progress Manning has made since a series of neck operations sidelined him all of last season and led to his release from the Colts.
And Manning looked great, showing zip and accuracy on his passes, comfort under center, complete command of his offense, and no ill effects from the nerve injury that caused weakness in his throwing arm.
“Man, it feels good to know he’s going to be on my side because what I saw today, he’s going to give us some good work,’’ star cornerback Champ Bailey said. “And we might not see a quarterback like that all year.’’
Manning became the most prized free agent in NFL history following his release after 14 seasons in Indianapolis. His signing in Denver led to Tebow’s trade to the Jets, despite a thrilling run to the playoffs.
The Broncos and a handful of other suitors watched Manning throw during his whirlwind free agency tour in March, but before Monday, reporters had to rely on his receivers for updates on his progress.
And he looked like the Manning of old. His throws, most of which were intermediate, were strong and on target.
Watching his pinpoint passes zip around Dove Valley, one never would have guessed he’d been forced to go under the scalpel multiple times since his last game, a wild-card playoff loss to the Jets in January 2011.
“Oh, no. Absolutely not,’’ Bailey said. “You know, it’s not live, but from what I see right now, the guy hasn’t missed a beat.’’
Among the no-shows for the voluntary workout was defensive tackle Ty Warren, whom the Broncos are hoping takes a pay cut, and LB D.J. Williams, whose DUI case ended in a mistrial hours after it began Monday after his lawyer objected to how jurors were selected. Another trial on the misdemeanor charges was scheduled for Aug. 15.
Welker, Ebner on board
The Patriots said wide receiver Wes Welker officially signed his franchise tender, and that former rugby player Nate Ebner agreed to his first professional contract. Welker, 31, announced via Twitter last week that he inked the deal, worth $9.5 million guaranteed. Welker has made four straight Pro Bowls and has caught 554 passes in his five years in Foxborough. Ebner, a defensive back out of Ohio State , was selected in the sixth round. Terms were not disclosed.
Winslow off to Seahawks
The Buccaneers traded tight end Kellen Winslow to the Seahawks for a conditional draft pick and signed former Colts star Dallas Clark to replace him. Earlier in the day, Winslow told SiriusXM radio that first-year coach Greg Schiano was “kind of upset’’ that Winslow has not been working out with the team and told the player that he would be dealt . . . Texans receiver Andre Johnson, 30, said he will miss 3-4 weeks of voluntary workouts after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee . . . In Hampton, Va., Jets defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis pleaded guilty to assault and battery stemming from a 2010 fight while attending college. Ellis was sentenced to 179 days in jail, with 89 suspended. His attorney said Ellis likely will serve 45 days when he reports to jail on June 15 and said that he shouldn’t miss any of the NFL season. Ellis originally faced a felony malicious wounding charge from the fight at Hampton University and faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. But the legal ordeal for Ellis is not over: Before court, he was served with a $3 million lawsuit on behalf of victim Dennis Eley.