The Denver Broncos’ late-season fade into mediocrity last year left a lot of players (and fans) downtrodden—and for good reason.

Nobody expected the Broncos to do anything, but they started the year with a 6-0 record, and it seemed like everything was possible. A 2-8 finish killed the hope and continued the Broncos’ years-long streak of playing .500 ball.

It’s time to forget that disappointing past, at least for the players, who head into training camp this week.

New Broncos nose tackle Jamal Williams, a 12-year National Football League veteran, tells The Denver Post, “When we all hit that field the first time, we’re 0-0, fresh start baby. A new year. What’s done is done; the past is past. You know, it’s all about the future.”

Coach Josh McDaniels hopes so, too, explaining that he’s tweaking the team’s conditioning regimen and making other adjustments to fix the culture of inadequacy. Until then, the Broncos will have to settle for number 14 on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams. For the rookies in the group, training camp marks their opportunity to make the team, which isn’t guaranteed even if they were drafted high.

The Broncos’ first overall draft pick this year, Demaryius Thomas, knows all about overcoming adversity. He invited The Denver Post (in a separate article) to accompany him on a trip to visit his mother and grandmother recently. Both women are in prison for trafficking cocaine, a situation that Thomas (pictured) says has prepared him well for the emotional toll of difficult events, like training camp.

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