By Ben Volin
Pro Football Writers of America
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Broncos’ walk-through practice Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium had a bit of a Senior Day feel to it.
The team practiced in sweats for about 30 minutes, going over a few offensive and defensive sets one last time before Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. But really the day was about enjoying the moment one last time and enjoying one of the final moments that this roster will be intact before the offseason hits.
Players trickled out onto the field with cameras and camcorders to capture the atmosphere – guard Louis Vasquez taking a panoramic photo of the stadium, backup offensive tackle Vinston Painter posing for photos and safety Mike Adams recording the scene with a video mounted on his head.
The walk-through was light and fun, although security workers kept having to shoo away stadium employees trying to catch a glimpse of practice. Coach John Fox didn’t keep his team on the field for long. The only player not expected to participate Sunday night is defensive tackle Sione Fua, doubtful with a calf injury.
“It was very similar to what we’ve done all season – typical Saturday practice,” he said. “Just a review, pretty much. Play the game, walk the field – maybe not everything we’re going to do, because you don’t know what security is like here. But it was beneficial.”
The weather was beautiful on Saturday – mid-40s and clear blue skies – but Fox said he didn’t feel like his team caught a break with the conditions.
“We’re pretty much weather-proof,” he said. “We live in Denver, so we practice in just about every element there is.”
Fox said he encouraged his players to soak up the moment. Peyton Manning took several photos inside the locker room with various teammates – the offensive linemen, wide receivers, etc. – and later posed with John Elway on the field. After practice, the players’ families were invited onto the field to take pictures and enjoy the day, as well.
“They worked really hard to have this opportunity,” Fox said of his players. “Might as well enjoy it.”
Despite the enormity of Sunday’s game, Fox is doing his best to keep the routine the same this weekend .The Broncos will be switching hotels tonight to sequester themselves from friends and family, but that’s typical for a Saturday night, Fox said.
He said he’s not too worried about nerves getting the best of him or his players, or having too much free time before kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We’ve played a lot of prime time games, this is just another one,” he said. “It gets bigger on the outside, that’s true all through the playoffs, and this is probably the ultimate of that, but they’ve listened and managed it pretty good.”