ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – John Elway’s Bentley with the six-figure price tag was replaced by Jacob Tamme’s old white Volvo clunker in the prime parking spot outside the Denver Broncos headquarters Wednesday.
Peyton Manning revealed the reason – but didn’t know whose car it was.
When talking about tight end Julius Thomas winning his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week award, Manning mentioned the Broncos’ new parking policy.
The three Broncos who are named the team’s players of the week – one each on offense, defense and special teams – get to park up front where Elway and coach John Fox used to park their cars.
“That’s a new bone, those first three spots,” Manning said.
Then, he rattled off the names of Week 1’s winners:
“We have Rahim and Julius,” he said of Thomas, who caught three TD passes, and safety Rahim Moore, who picked off a pair of Andrew Luck’s passes in Denver’s win over Indy.
And … uh …
“Who’s the special teams player of the week for us, Erich?” Manning asked Broncos media relations manager Erich Schubert. “Do you know?”
That would be Tamme, the versatile seventh-year tight end who has played with Manning his entire career, including four seasons in Indianapolis.
“He didn’t remember? It figures,” Tamme cracked later in the locker room.
Tamme was part of the committee replacing suspended slot receiver Wes Welker in the opener. But he ended up playing 20 snaps on special teams to go with 10 from scrimmage once ace David Bruton was knocked from the game with a dislocated left shoulder.
“It’s definitely good to be useful,” Tamme said.
He secured his prime parking spot by burying punt returner Griff Whalen for a 2-yard loss at Indy’s 36 with three minutes left and Denver clinging to the last wisps of what had been a 24-point first-half cushion.
“Special teams is something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” Tamme said.
He also was quite proud of his new parking spot.
“I take a little flack for my Volvo I drive in here,” Tamme said. “So, I plan on parking that ‘soccer mom’ Volvo in there as much as possible.”
Thomas caught some flak himself Wednesday when he had to tote a football wrapped in a green helmet beanie during practice as punishment for his fumble and his inability to corral an onside kick Sunday night.
“I have to do a better job of holding onto the football,” said Thomas, who caught seven passes for 104 yards.
Despite his blunders, Thomas was named Offensive AFC Player of the Week.
“That’s a great honor for Julius. He deserves it,” Manning said. “Great start for him. He has really worked hard this offseason. He had some specific goals that he wanted to reach and I think he’s put the time and work in.
“He’s still a young player. He’s still got to keep improving and I think he will. I was really happy with the way he played and competed and nice to see him recognized.”
Manning will see a familiar face coming after him Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) visit the Broncos (1-0). Veteran defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson, who failed to make the final cut in Denver, signed with the Chiefs after they lost Mike DeVito to a ruptured Achilles tendon in their opener.
If Manning is worried that Vickerson knows all his tricks, he’s doing a good job hiding his concern.
“I have certainly played against former teammates before, so I think I’m used to it,” Manning said.
Broncos nose tackle Terrance Knighton said he knows Vickerson will be fired up for his homecoming game Sunday.
“He’ll probably have some type of edge, just because we did cut him,” Knighton said. “I wish him the best. I hope he plays well – not enough for them to win.”
Notes: Knighton said he has caught a lot of grief on social media for his strong stance supporting Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension after a video surfaced showing Rice punching his then-fiancee at an Atlantic City casino in February. He also said he’s gotten plenty of kudos, mostly from women but also from fellow NFL players “telling me good job, they’re glad I spoke up about it.” … Manning on being six TD throws shy of 500 for his career: “It’s kind of like beating all 32 teams – it just means you’ve played a long time and you’re an old player.”
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– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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