The Broncos have closed training camp to fans this year because of construction at the team facilities, and Peyton Manning says that makes this year’s camp different.
“As great as these facilities are going to be, the disappointing thing is that just due to the safety issues we couldn’t have fans here, and I’m disappointed in it – it was not the same today,” Manning told Tom Jackson on ESPN.
Manning said he and his teammates have always enjoyed hearing the fans cheering them on at practice, and this year that won’t be the case.
“You need fans out here in training camp. The energy, you get into the padded practices, those third and fourth padded practices, just a little shout out from the fans . . . it makes a difference and I missed it today,” Manning said. “I know we’re really going to miss it as these training camp practices go on. I just want them to know it will be missed and it was an unavoidable situation.”
The Broncos are planning some open practices at Mile High, but that’s not the same as the day-in, day-out close contact with fans that teams have when they open up training camp.
“We’ve got a couple practices at the stadium. Hopefully we’ll have a great turnout there,” Manning said. “But fans, to me, are a part of training camp, and this will be different this year, and it’s sad for me. Especially these Broncos fans, I know these are some loyal fans, I know fans that have been planning vacations around training camp. I’ve seen them for the past two years and [John] Elway said they’ve been here since he’s been playing so that tells you the kinds of fans we’re playing for and we’re sorry not to see them this year.”
The Broncos say this year’s construction will improve the facilities and make future training camps a better experience for fans. In Manning’s view, that will also make training camp a better experience for players.