Lelie, picks top agenda


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Jan 22, 2006
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Lelie, picks top agenda

By Bill Williamson
Denver Post Staff Writer

While the Broncos spend the next three days working to finalize contracts with all seven of their draft picks, this week is also crucial to completing a trade of disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie.

Denver, which opens training camp practices Friday morning after Thursday's reporting date, is all but assured of starting camp without Lelie. He has stayed away from team functions this offseason. If the team deals Lelie, it could happen this week when his value may be the highest.

Lelie's Denver-based agent, Peter Schaffer, said a trade could happen soon. Schaffer has been working with the Broncos since May, and praised the Broncos for trying to accommodate Lelie's request.

"I'm more optimistic than ever because of the diligence and respect shown by (general manager) Ted Sundquist and (coordinator of football administration) Mike Bluem," Schaffer said. "They are attempting to find a positive resolution for all parties."

Lelie sat out the offseason workout program and the mandatory mini-camp this month and will be subject to a daily fine if he misses camp. His absence could create a distraction for the Broncos as they begin defense of their AFC West championship. At this point, no other veteran holdouts are expected in the NFL.

Schaffer said there are seven teams interested in Lelie. The teams Denver has talked to are believed to include Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New England.

The biggest obstacle in trading Lelie is he is entering the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in March. Thus, teams may be reluctant to give high value. There have been several players traded in recent years, including receiver Terrell Owens and quarterback Steve McNair, who haven't commanded high value because of contract situations.

It's believed the Broncos are seeking help at running back and tight end. However, draft-pick compensation could be part of a Lelie trade.

Meanwhile, Denver will spend the week trying to complete negotiations with its draft choices. It is not unusual for teams to secure their picks in the days leading up to training camp. Last year, all but one of Denver's picks signed the week of camp.

Brown eyeing Broncos

If he and his agents have their druthers, running back Chris Brown will return to Colorado. The former University of Colorado star has Denver at the "top of our list," one of his agents, Ryan Morgan said.

Brown has requested to be traded by Tennessee, but Morgan said the Titans have denied the request thus far.

"Denver would be a good fit for Chris," Morgan said. "We all know how well Denver runs the ball, and we think Chris, with his style, could have a big year there."

Denver has been exploring adding another tailback but a trade for Brown, who is entering the final season of his contract, could be difficult.

There has been some speculation a Brown-for-Lelie swap could develop, but the Titans are strong at receiver.

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