Eager to get back to work, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow beat just about everyone to the team’s practice facility.
The veteran he’s trying to replace wasn’t as ambitious.
His future with the team uncertain, Kyle Orton didn’t show up at Dove Valley on Tuesday, the first day players were allowed to voluntarily report following the 4½-month lockout.
Training camp opens today with the first full workout slated for Thursday.
Tebow was one of the first players to roll in for voluntary strength and conditioning, driving through the gates at 7:40 a.m., just behind offensive lineman Jeff Byers.
This soon could be Tebow’s team, especially with speculation swirling that Orton’s days in Denver are numbered.
Orton has started the last two seasons for Denver, posting career-best passing numbers to go with 41 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. But with the Broncos looking for a fresh start following a franchise-worst 4-12 season, Orton might be more valuable on the trade market, paving the way for Tebow to be the starter for new coach John Fox.
Teams are allowed to orchestrate trades Tuesday and Orton’s name keeps surfacing. He is due more than $8 million this season, a hefty price tag with Tebow and Brady Quinn waiting in the wings.
There were more than two dozen players who arrived at the facility over the course of the day, including Brian Dawkins and Robert Ayers.
“This lockout has been a long time,” defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. “Football is back.”
The Broncos spent the day negotiating with their draft picks, including No. 2 overall selection Von Miller, who said he planned to be ready to practice when training camp starts.
“I want to come in and just learn. I don’t want to put myself anymore behind than I already am,” Miller said.
Miller stands to make much less money in the new labor accord, with a four-year deal likely worth about $25 million or so, some $45 million less than he could have gotten under the old setup.
“I’ve been playing football all my life for free. So, whatever it is, whatever my contract may be, I’m good with whatever,” Miller said. “You really can’t be possessive over something you didn’t have.”