Broncos get two starters back as OLB Randy Gregory, OL Billy Turner return from PUP list

With the Broncos’ regular season opener less than a month away, two important reinforcements returned to action on Monday in Dove Valley.

The Broncos activated edge rusher Randy Gregory and offensive lineman Billy Turner off the physically unable to perform list. Both came aboard this offseason after signing free-agent contracts with the expectation they would be impact players. Gregory was the team’s splashiest offseason addition (five years, $70 million) on defense, while Turner signed a one-year deal to compete for the starting right tackle job.

For Gregory, shoulder surgery was a necessary fix that was a few seasons coming. The linebacker also had his knee scoped this offseason, forcing him to learn Ejiro Evero’s defense from the sideline to begin camp.

“(The shoulder issue) was something I’ve been dealing with for two, three years now,” Gregory said. “We got to the point where it was kind of hindering my play, so (the surgery) was something that was important for me to do long-term for the good of the team.”

Gregory said the plan is for him to be ready to play in the Sept. 12 regular season opener at Seattle. His shoulder mobility has noticeably improved since the surgery, though Gregory is slowly re-learning his pass-rushing repertoire.

“Striking, I’ve been able to do that, ripping and things like that,” Gregory said. “Getting up on the field and being able to work those (pass-rushing) moves out is something that’s still up in the air. I feel very confident about it, it’s just something I haven’t done in a while.”

Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Gregory and Turner, who is competing at right tackle with Calvin Anderson, “will slowly and gradually” be worked into full action in practice over the next couple of preseason weeks.

Turner is also optimistic he’ll be physically and mentally ready for Week 1 against the Seahawks, noting “that’s what these next four weeks are going to be about for me.”

“It’s about getting to the point where I feel I’m ready to get on the field and play a football game for a full 60 minutes,” Turner said. “I’m just excited to be back on the field doing something (instead of mental reps).”

In his first true practice as a Bronco, Gregory drew a big hug from Hackett at the beginning during the stretching period, then Gregory broke down the team huddle at the end of practice.

Turner also drew some love from the head coach, who gave the veteran a long “Billllllllly!” upon seeing him on the field in helmet and shoulder pads for the first time with Denver.

The two spent the past three years together in Green Bay, where Hackett served as offensive coordinator while Turner started 43 regular season games between the right tackle and right guard spots.

Turner previously played for the Broncos from 2016 to 2018, appearing in 20 games with 11 starts, but has returned to a different vibe at the UCHealth Training Center.

“There are some of the same people in the building, but everything feels different,” Turner said. “It’s a different energy and a different vibe here with Coach Hackett in the building (along with) some of these guys and some of these players. It’s not like what it was last time.”

Source: Read Full Article