Nathaniel Hackett acts as running back, safety in first official Broncos practice



In his first official practice as the Broncos’ coach on Monday, Nathaniel Hackett wasted no time doing some up-close-and-personal teaching.Hackett took handoffs on play-action pass plays from his new pupil, quarterback Russell Wilson, and also jumped in at safety on the defensive side of the ball on the opening day of the team’s voluntary minicamp.



“Somebody said they call him ‘White Lightning,’” Wilson said with a laugh. “I don’t know (about that). But he looked good over there. He had some nice handoffs.”
Hackett, whose relentless energy has permeated throughout the Broncos’ facility since his hire, said he wanted to bring a more game-type feel to the passing drills with Wilson and his wideout corps. And with Denver’s roster trimmed in this pre-draft camp, Hackett and running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley stepped in.
“Our job is to support them, and make it look as realistic as possible,” Hackett said. “I feel like I gave it a realistic look.”



Wilson appreciated Hackett’s involvement.
“Off the field our relationship has been good, but on the field, first day today, and I told him at the end congratulations for our first practice together,” Wilson said. “He’s an amazing teacher and that’s what you love about him.”
Meanwhile, Wilson said he remains “mildly obsessed” with learning what Hackett called a “very, very large playbook.” Wilson said he typically arrives at the team facility at about 5:15 a.m. each day to get a head start on studying.



Injury/attendance updates. Outside linebacker Randy Gregory (shoulder) and right tackle Billy Turner (knee) were among those who didn’t practice Monday, but wideout KJ Hamler (coming off last season’s ACL injury) did light work during the media viewing period.
Last month, Hamler said he expects to be ready to play in the season opener. On Monday, Hackett said, “we don’t want to rush it too fast. We want to do what’s right for him.”
Also not spotted during the early part of practice were offensive lineman Tom Compton and receiver Seth Williams.
Simmons hosts march. Safety Justin Simmons was joined by Hackett and several teammates Saturday morning at a second annual “March For Peace” organized by members of the Broncos Boys & Girls Club. Players walked a 2 1/2-mile loop around a north Denver neighborhood. Simmons assisted two teenagers from the community during the event.

“Every time I get to hang out with them, you think you’ve hit the cap and there’s no way they can go above and beyond,” Simmons said after the march. “It’s been really inspiring to me.”



Among the players in attendance: Cornerback Pat Surtain II, guards Quinn Meinerz and Netane Muti, outside linebacker Baron Browning, quarterback Brett Rypien, defensive linemen D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell and Jonathan Harris, and receivers Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and Tyrie Cleveland.

Tryout players. The Broncos had seven players participating in minicamp on a tryout basis: Running back Artavis Pierce, tight end Caleb Wilson, cornerbacks Bless Austin and Donnie Lewis, Jr., and receivers Keelan Doss, Juwan Green and Trey Quinn.


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