ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It took just one carry for Willis McGahee to earn the fans’ attention — a burst to the left and into the open field that drew one of the loudest roars of practice.
All in all, it was a fine first impression considering that the nine-year veteran acknowledged some butterflies in the locker room prior to make his Broncos training-camp debut.
“When I was taking out my earrings, I was in the locker room and I was thinking, ‘Why am I shaking?’” McGahee said.
“I was anxious to get out here and get the feel for things and get the feel for the guys.”
Yet he could only get so much of a feel, because Broncos coach John Fox put a limit on how much McGahee and his fellow free-agent signees could work in their first practice.
“We are easing into it,” Fox said. “We lightened up the reps just to get them in some kind of hitting shape.”
McGahee understood and seemed to welcome it, even though he started with plenty of work, only to spend most of the last half of practice watching.
“At the beginning of practice it got to me, I had four (carries?) back to back and I was like, ‘What’s happening out here?’” he said. “But as it went along, it got better.”
The restrictions on his work meant that he didn’t take part in the goal-line period of practice — the one game-time scenario in which McGahee is most likely to make an impact. With Lance Ball taking the snaps, the offense failed to score on any of its four goal-line runs.
McGahee’s chance to show what he has left will come soon. For now, he was satisfied with the first day.
“It was about right,” he said. “I’m not trying to mess up every play there is, but the ones that I did get, I took advantage of Tomorrow’s going to be more, and then the next day more and more.”