Sports

A new No. 15 has Broncos fans feeling the love again

No insubordination. No contract consternation. No split locker room.

No more bad karma — just a bit of bad luck.

The Denver Broncos kicked off training camp without the negativity that enveloped them a year ago, when their two first-round draft picks were holdouts and the man wearing No. 15 was defiant receiver Brandon Marshall.

With Marshall in Miami, rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is donning that number now, and his presence was a big reason the Broncos drew 3,103 fans to the start of training camp in Englewood, Colo., a record for the first day at Dove Valley.

The only damper? Running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter got hurt.

That might have been the only two times many in the crowd took their eyes off Tebow, the two-time national champion from Florida and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.

“Guy was a great player in college,” Champ Bailey said. “He’s going to do some great things for us.”

Fans serenaded Tebow with cheers when he walked onto the field and when he stretched, then chanted his name when he walked off after winning every single one of the post-practice sideline sprints.

“I thought it was Bannan,” cracked defensive lineman Justin Bannan. “Isn’t that what they’re out here for? No, obviously, it’s Tebow. Everyone’s out here to see him and it looks like he’s doing all right.”

Bannan said the veterans don’t mind that Tebow’s stealing the show.

“Obviously, he’s a special case and he had an unbelievable collegiate career. He’s the only guy to have a career like that, so it kind of demands that kind of attention,” Bannan said.

WELKER RETURNS

Patriots receiver Wes Welker was removed from the physically unable to perform list and placed on the active roster, seven months after tearing ligaments in his knee.

Welker was injured early in the final regular-season game against the Houston Texans on Jan. 3. He had surgery for a torn ligaments a month later.

MATHEWS SIGNS

Running back Ryan Mathews signed a five-year, $25.65 million contract with the San Diego Chargers, with just more than $15 million in guaranteed money.

The heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson, Mathews was expected to be at Sunday’s late-afternoon practice. He missed seven practices, including three for rookies and selected veterans last week.

WAYNE ARRIVES

Reggie Wayne ditched the flashy training camp entrance and asrrived without saying a word.

Just the way the Colts wanted it.

Peyton Manning’s favorite receiver and Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis ended the speculation about potential holdouts by reporting to Indianapolis’ new camp home, Anderson (Ind.) University, on time Sunday.

EXTRA POINTS

Albert Haynesworth’s sore left knee kept him from taking the Washington Redskins’ conditioning test once again, forcing him to sit out practice for the fourth straight day. … Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is holding out from training camp, locked in a contract dispute with the team. … Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey is requiring all of his offensive linemen to wear knee braces through training camp in a bid to prevent injuries. … Jacksonville tight end Zach Miller is practicing for the first time since minicamp, returning to the field after missing summer workouts with a foot injury. … Steelers kicker Jeff Reed isn’t happy after learning he won’t be signed to the multiyear contract he expected after being designated as the team’s franchise player.

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