“I want him to be a part of this,” said cornerback Champ Bailey, “but he also has to make the best decision for him and his family.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Attendance was apparently solid for the first day of team-organized — but still voluntary — workouts, with “35 to 40″ of the offensive players showing up for the sessions, according to wide receiver Eric Decker.
But Brian Dawkins wasn’t there.
Over three months after missing four of the Broncos’ last five games because of a pinched nerve in his neck, Dawkins hasn’t retired, but has not closed the door on returning, either.
“In talking to him at the Pro Bowl, I just told him to take his time and whatever he needed from me, just let me know and I’ll help him as much as possible. No pressure,” said cornerback Champ Bailey.
The Broncos are prepared personnel-wise for life without Dawkins. Last month’s signing of former Browns free safety Mike Adams would allow Quinton Carter to slide over to strong safety, his more natural position, after playing free safety as a rookie alongside Dawkins last year.
But for a team with suddenly legitimate Super Bowl aspirations after the signing of Peyton Manning, the presence of Dawkins — even if he is primarily limited to playing in the base package and creeping into the box to defend the run — helps the Broncos’ cause.
“I want him to be a part of this,” Bailey said, “but he also has to make the best decision for him and his family.”