Demaryius Thomas excused from Broncos camp

The Associated Press
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Both Demaryius Thomas and Chris Harris Jr. plan to practice next week with the first day of the Denver Broncos' training camp.

Thomas was excused to attend the funeral of the grandmother who helped raise him in Georgia. Harris was held out while he awaits a trip to see his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, on Monday to check on his surgically repaired left knee.

Thomas attended the Broncos' team meeting Wednesday, a day after his grandmother died, and received permission from coach John Fox to leave for a few days. He's expected to rejoin his teammates Monday.

''He had a tragic loss. His grandmother in the Atlanta area passed away from Alzheimer's,'' Fox said. ''That combined with the news of (Broncos owner Pat) Bowlen is pretty devastating stuff. That woman basically raised D.T. He's back there in Georgia and left last night. He's where he needs to be right now. We expect him back when the services are over.''

The Broncos announced Wednesday that Bowlen was relinquishing control of the team because of Alzheimer's.

Thomas caught a team-best 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. He also set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions.

Thomas' agent and the Broncos have exchanged proposals on a long-term contract that general manager John Elway wants to get done within the next two weeks so that it doesn't become a distraction.

Thomas is expected to be back Monday, the same day Harris hopes to get clearance to practice again.

Harris was supposed to see his surgeon earlier this week, but that appointment was delayed.

''It just worked out better, to give me an extra week,'' said Harris, who was wearing a knee brace during sideline work Thursday, something he hopes to be able to ditch in a couple of weeks.

''I can't go into games with a brace, no way,'' Harris said with a chuckle.

All indications are Andrews will clear Harris, who expects to be eased into practice the way Von Miller has been. Both tore an anterior cruciate ligament last season, Miller in December and Harris in the playoffs in January.

Miller is participating in 7-on-7 and individual drills and retreating to the sideline during 11-on-11 portions of practice.

Bubba Caldwell got the bulk of work in his absence Thursday and tight end Julius Thomas, who's also in contract negotiations, was split wide on some snaps.

The Broncos open the preseason Aug. 7 against Seattle, which routed them 43-8 in the Super Bowl.

Offensive coordinator Adam Gase made his players watch the first half of that debacle just before they scattered for vacation last month.

''I still haven't watched the three I lost,'' Elway cracked.

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said he's watched the loss to the Seahawks plenty of times.

''I watched it enough to hate them and you can write that down,'' Knighton said. ''And I'm looking forward to playing them again.''

The teams also play in the regular season when the Broncos visit the Seahawks on Sept. 21.

''We want to get that bad taste out of our mouth (but) playing them in Week 3 won't get it out of our mouth,'' Knighton said. ''It will just be winning the Super Bowl. We want to hoist that trophy.''

Notes: Training camp is closed to the public this year because of a $35 million construction project that includes a new indoor practice facility. The Broncos will hold three practices at their downtown stadium, including one on Sunday. ''Our guys are probably more disappointed about it than anybody, maybe even the fans,'' Fox said. ''... We'll miss them, but we have to deal with it. It's a safety issue here with the construction. We look forward to getting them back out here next year.'' ... Rookie WR Cody Latimer made several big catches, including a long TD reception from Brock Osweiler with top pick Bradley Roby in coverage.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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