2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Stokley stoked for reunion with Broncos, Manning

    2012-05-03 15:37

(Eds: Adds photo links. With AP Photos.)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Brandon Stokley was ready for a reunion, not retirement.

The 14th-year wide receiver rejoined the Denver Broncos - and old pal Peyton Manning - this offseason after missing almost all of 2011.

Stokley played in just two games for the New York Giants last year before a strained thigh led to an injury settlement. Instead of helping the Giants win another ring, he spent his winter back home in Castle Rock, Colo., wondering if his NFL career was over.

He kept in shape, and when Manning signed with Denver, the Broncos quickly brought back his sidekick slot receiver who played with the four-time MVP in Indianapolis from 2003-06.

Stokley, who played in Denver from 2007-09, said he's, well, stoked, to be back with the Broncos and Manning.

``I wasn't really ready to be done,'' Stokley said. ``I still feel like I can play.''

Stokley and Manning hooked up at a public park in Castle Rock to play some catch during the quarterback's free agency whirlwind tour in March.

It was Stokley who let the sports world know that Manning looked strong and accurate after missing last season following a series of neck operations that led to his release by the Colts. Manning had worked out privately for some teams, but Stokley was the first eyewitness to come forward and give the 36-year-old quarterback rave reviews.

At first, he was surprised by Manning's precise, powerful passes.

``I was. I hadn't talked to him about it. I didn't ask him how he was throwing or even if he was throwing. So, when I went up there, I just wanted to have a clear mind and just see for myself. So, I was really impressed that first day,'' Stokley said.

``And we ended up throwing for three straight days and he was the only quarterback there, so he was throwing a lot of balls and you never saw any drop-off. And when we threw a week or two later, he looked even better. That just showed me he is improving.''

Stokley then made a tour of high school football fields around the Denver area with Manning and receiver Eric Decker to get back into shape and rediscover their rhythm.

Not long after Manning called John Elway and agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal, Stokley signed a one-year contract to return to the Broncos in what he views as the best of both worlds.

``No, I didn't ever think I'd have another chance to play with him,'' Stokley said. ``I don't want to say you kind of take him for granted, but then you move on and you kind of realize what you had. And you kind of always hope that you get that chance again. So, for me, it's been great, I think he's the best ever to play the position. So, to have a chance to play with somebody like that is pretty special.''

Stokley, who turns 36 next month, same as Manning, is healthy again.

``I feel great. I feel 100 percent. I don't have any ailments or nothing's bothering me. So, the body's feeling good and I feel good,'' he said.

Known as the ``Slot Machine,'' Stokley is the only Broncos receiver who has played with Manning before, and he's freely dishing out advice to his young teammates, some of whom he'll be battling with for a roster spot and playing time.

``I've always looked at it like anything I can do to help out,'' Stokley said. ``I believe in my ability and what I can do and if it's good enough, then I'll be on the team. If it's not, then I won't. But I don't think helping somebody else out is going to hurt me. I've never looked at it that way. I've always had older guys who have helped me out. So, whenever I get the chance I try to help out whoever asks.''

Stokley's first stint with the Broncos was best known for his ``Immaculate Deflection'' catch that stunned the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2009 season opener. Down 7-6 with 28 seconds left, Kyle Orton's underthrown pass to Brandon Marshall was tipped by cornerback Leon Hall and into the hands of Stokley, who raced for an 87-yard TD and a 12-7 win in Josh McDaniels' head coaching debut.

Stokley said it's been fun to see how far Decker and Demaryius Thomas have come since he played with them when they were rookies during training camp in 2010, before injury ended Stokley's first stint in Denver.

He said he's eager to see how much better Manning will make them, too.

``Oh, I think it's going to be huge, especially with what they had last year and the offense that they ran last year to what they're going to have this year,'' Stokley said. ``I think the expectations are going to be a lot higher from the quarterback.

``So, I think anytime you have that, it just makes the player work harder and want to do better. With Peyton, everything has to be so precise, detail-oriented, it just rubs off on everybody else.''

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Thaddeus LewisJul 22 10:33a

Buffalo Bills QBs Jeff Tuel and Thaddeus Lewis are alternating series with the second unit in team drills Tuesday, July 22.

Tyler BrayJul 22 09:13a

Kansas City Chiefs QBs Tyler Bray and Chase Daniel are likely to compete for one roster spot with QB Aaron Murray likely to make the team behind starting QB Alex Smith.

Navorro BowmanJul 22 12:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) will likely return to action in Week 9 after the team's Week 8 bye, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Jacques McClendonJul 21 11:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars OG Jacques McClendon is the frontrunner to start at right guard heading into training camp, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. OG Brandon Linder is the other candidate for the starting job.

Aaron ColvinJul 21 10:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Aaron Colvin (knee) will begin training camp and the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate [ More ]

Jeromy MilesJul 21 10:03p

Baltimore Ravens S Jeromy Miles has seen some reps with the first-team defense this offseason and is a dark horse candidate to win the starting free safety job, according to ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley.

Brandon MosleyJul 21 09:43p

New York Giants OT Brandon Mosley will be given the first chance to start in place of OG Chris Snee when the first-team offensive line takes the field Tuesday, [ More ]

T.J. GrahamJul 21 09:23p

Buffalo Bills WR T.J. Graham had a pass fall through his hands after beating his defender on a deep route in camp Monday, July 21.ESPN.com's Mike Rodak believes Graham [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsJul 21 09:02p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins made several big plays in practice Monday, July 21, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. Watkins beat CB Leodis McKelvin deep, hauled in a pass [ More ]

Marvin JonesJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals QB A.J. McCarron (shoulder), WR Marvin Jones (ankle) and CB Onterio McCalebb (knee) have been placed on the Non-Football Injury list.

Devon StillJul 21 07:03p

Cincinnati Bengals OG Clint Boling (knee), LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring), P Kevin Huber (neck), WR Colin Lockett (hamstring), DT Zach Minter (back), DT Devon Still (back) and WR Ryan [ More ]

Cordy GlennJul 21 06:53p

Buffalo Bills OT Cordy Glenn (illness) does not have a timetable for his return at this point, according to head coach Doug Marrone. 'I don't know that. It's a [ More ]

Mike CaussinJul 21 06:43p

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent TE Mike Caussin (Bills). Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived LS Kyle Nelson.

Cheta OzougwuJul 21 06:32p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) and DT John Jenkins (pectoral) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Brennan WilliamsJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans OT Brennan Williams (undisclosed) has been waived with a failed physical designation.

Brian CushingJul 21 06:22p

Houston Texans DT Louis Nix (undisclosed), LB Brian Cushing (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Eric HaggJul 21 06:13p

Denver Broncos SS Eric Hagg has informed the team that he has decided to retire from professional football.

Dominique EasleyJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots DT Dominique Easley, RB Roy Finch, LB Deontae Skinner and OT Chris Martin have been placed on the team's non-football injury list.

Alfonzo DennardJul 21 05:23p

New England Patriots CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), WR Aaron Dobson (foot), WR Jeremy Gallon (undisclosed), DT Tommy Kelly (knee) and WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) will begin training camp on [ More ]

Leon HallJul 21 05:12p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and CB Leon Hall (Achilles') will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

Jon BeasonJul 21 05:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) will begin training camp on the team's physically unable to perform list.

John JerryJul 21 05:02p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (leg), OG John Jerry (knee) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) will be limited when training camp starts.

Kraig UrbikJul 21 04:33p

Buffalo Bills OT Chris Hairston and OG Kraig Urbik saw first-team repetitions at right guard Monday, July 21.

Dezmon BriscoeJul 21 04:03p

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent WR Dezmon Briscoe (Redskins), according to his agent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Phillip HuntJul 21 03:12p

Former Philadelphia Eagles DE Phillip Hunt (knee) has recovered from anterior cruciate ligament surgery and should begin workouts with teams in the near future.

Chris ConteJul 21 02:12p

Chicago Bears FS Chris Conte said he feels good as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but is unsure of his availability for the start of training camp. He could [ More ]

Alameda Ta'amuJul 21 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals DT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) and FS Tyrann Mathieu (knee) are candidates to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp.

David WilsonJul 21 01:42p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) should be able to help the offense if he is able to stay healthy this upcoming season, according to former offensive coordinator [ More ]

Chris SneeJul 21 01:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OG Chris Snee has officially announced his retirement from professional football.

Garrett CelekJul 21 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers TEs Derek Carrier and Garrett Celek will compete for the No. 3 tight end spot during training camp.

De'Anthony ThomasJul 21 01:22p

Kansas City Chiefs RB De'Anthony Thomas spent most of his time with the running backs during practice Monday, July 21. Thomas run a lot of passing routes out of [ More ]

Christopher OwensJul 21 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee), WR Kyle Williams (knee), WR A.J. Jenkins (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) participated in practice Monday, July 21.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group