One week into offseason conditioning, it’s definitely the former for the Broncos who reconvened at Dove Valley for the workouts that commenced on April 9.
“I think it’s the same stuff, just more of it,” fullback Kyle Johnson said after completing his Monday session. “I’ve really got to give him (stength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten) credit where credit is due.
“He does incorporate a lot of the things that they teach you to do over the years, all your football training, incorporating that, conditioning, plyometrics, speed training, ball training. He has a nice varied program. It’s quality. It’s just hard.”
But at the same time, the sweat and toil is welcome after a three-month period unlike any endured by an NFL team in recent memory. The deaths of Darrent Williams and Damien Nash hit Johnson hard, though he acknowledges that others in the locker room probably endure more pain and grieving that himself.
“Certain guys who were closer to them, it’s affected them more, and when you see them, you can tell,” Johnson said. “It depends on how intense your relationships were with both of those guys.
“We talk about D-Nash; we talk about D-Will, because they’re not forgotten and they’re still in our hearts and minds,” he added. “But … we’re not talking about what happened, we’re talking about remembering them. At least that’s what I’ve done.”
Johnson heard the news of Nash’s death while on vacation in Europe, which offered him a chance to pause and turn over some thoughts in his always-active mind.
“You ended up with a little more time to reflect and understand that as important and significant as this game is in every aspect of our lives, it is a job and a game at the end of the day, and life itself is more important,” Johnson said. “So I thought that not playing football and not being around each other for a while might have been the best thing — and now being back together should be something that’s beneficial for us to continue the healing process.”
And sometimes the hardest of work can be a soothing emotional balm when it’s needed most.