On Monday, a number of guys were at Dove Valley continuing their rehab from injuries in 2008, or they were just stopping by. Today, a pair of Broncos stopped in after getting into town ahead of time for Monday’s offseason conditioning program.
Matt Prater and Brandon Stokley were hanging out down in the locker room. Both players have spent their offseason spending time with family back in their respective home states.
The kicker traveled down to Florida to enjoy time with his three brothers and the nice weather “instead of freezing out here” he said with a laugh.
“I hung out with the family back in Florida,” Prater said. “That’s pretty much it. I’ve been lifting weights, trying to stay in shape, but I took a little time off.”
One of his favorite things to do in his time off is go fishing, so he made up for lost time on the water by reeling them in with his brothers. A self-proclaimed “home body,” Prater isn’t one to do a lot of traveling. He’d rather just kick back with his family and enjoy spending time with them.
But just because he may have spent a lot of time on a boat doesn’t mean he lost touch with football completely. In fact, he had a chance to talk on the phone with a couple of guys who will play a major role in his kicking duties — special teams coordinator Mike Priefer and longsnapper Lonie Paxton.
“Coach Priefer called me a few times, and it was really nice of him to do that. We’ve stayed in touch,” Prater said. “The new longsnapper Lonie Paxton called me. It was good to hear from him, and I’m looking forward to working with these new guys.”
He has not, however, had a chance to speak with Head Coach Josh McDaniels yet, though he hopes he may be able to do so today before things get started next week.
Either way, he’s excited about getting the team back together in Dove Valley for the workouts to begin building for the 2009 season.
“I’m looking forward to these workouts, getting to see everybody,” Prater said. “Everybody’s out of town, so I’ve been bored out of my mind. But I love working out, so it will be good to get back here with the guys.”
As for Stokley, spending time with his family was the best part of the offseason as well. He traveled back to Louisiana to kick back and relax with his wife and kids.
“I’ve really enjoyed the offseason. I’ve had a lot of time to relax, play golf and hang out with the family,” Stokley said. “I pretty much just went down to Louisiana and hung out down there. I didn’t do too much. That’s always really nice. I think it’s key to kind of rejuvenate yourself. Once you come back here, you’re ready to work and concentrate on football. But that time is good to just get away from everything and get your focus back.”
Like Prater, he has had a chance to speak with some of his coaches. He hasn’t yet started digging into the new offense that McDaniels will be implementing though. But he’s excited about getting to work on it and all the new things the Broncos will be doing in 2009.
As for the workouts set to begin Monday, the 11-year veteran has a slightly different take. When asked if he’s looking forward to the start of the conditioning program, he shook his head and smiled.
“Not very much at all,” he said with a laugh. “That first week is always really tough. You get really sore, so I’m not really looking forward to that part too much. After that first week, you get into a good routine and get the soreness out, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Mostly he’s just looking forward to spending time with his teammates again.
“Being around all the guys is the best. Starting off fresh, new and everybody has that same goal. We’ll be working hard to reach that goal, and that’s what it’s all about.”
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com