Broncos would welcome T.O.


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Jan 22, 2006
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Broncos would welcome T.O.

By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer
Tom Nalen sat in a near-empty Broncos locker room Monday at Dove Valley and pondered how Denver could improve in 2006.

When asked about one of the most talented players expected to be available this offseason, Nalen didn't hesitate.

"I'd take T.O.," said Denver's venerable center and a quiet leader.

Nalen said controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens would succeed in Denver. Nalen - whose opinion was backed by other Broncos players Monday - said Denver's veteran-oriented roster could help Owens work his way back into the NFL. Nalen said the presence of fellow veteran receiver Rod Smith - the undisputed leader of the Broncos - would help Owens adjust quickly if he were to come to Denver.

"If it would work anywhere, I think it would work here because of the guys in the locker room," Nalen said. "Guys would keep him straight ... I think he'd conform. He'd fit in here."

The Broncos often lacked the ability to attack deep down the field this season. Asked whether he thought Owens would enhance Denver's offense to the point of making it a Super Bowl team, Nalen said, "He'd fit into any offense. He's a great player."

Owens missed the last two months of the season, benched in Philadelphia after clashing with several people in the organization, including coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb. Owens, who also had trouble with coaches and teammates in San Francisco, could be available through a trade, although a deal can't be made until early March. He likely will be released by the Eagles in March and become a free agent.

Because of Owens' problems, he likely will sign a fairly reasonable short-term deal.

Denver defensive tackle Gerard Warren said he believes the Broncos can handle any player because of the veteran leadership, which includes Smith, Nalen, quarterback Jake Plummer, safety John Lynch, linebackers Al Wilson and Keith Burns and cornerback Champ Bailey.

Warren - who had a reputation as being a difficult locker room presence while with Cleveland - said he felt a warm welcome when he was acquired in March.

"This is a special locker room, and if T.O. were to want to be here and be part of this, the guys would accept him," Warren said. "We're a real team here, and I think the guys know that if you bring in a special player like that, it's to help the team. All these guys from Cleveland came in and fit in, and I think he would, too."

Burns, Denver's special-teams captain, said the Broncos' locker room is a place players succeed when they conform to the team concept. Third-round pick Maurice Clarett never adjusted to Denver's concept, failed to fit in and was released during training camp.

"He can be himself, but he'd also be a part of a team," Burns said of Owens. "If he were able to do that, I think guys would welcome him with open arms."
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