ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Sometimes during the dog days of August, NFL training camp talk turns to hoops and hardwood.
That was the case in Denver on Monday when the Broncos welcomed several visitors to their sideline, including Colorado State basketball coach Larry Eustachy and new Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and his staff.
Eustachy, who used to coach at Southern Miss and is friends with Archie Manning, chatted with Peyton Manning after practice.
“We exchanged a few Archie stories,” Eustachy said. “That was kind of cool, a special day.”
That’s what Malone thought, too.
“Any time you can go to a different sport and learn from different guys like John Elway and Gary Kubiak and pick anything up, why wouldn’t you?” Malone said. “So, great to be out here.”
Malone, like Kubiak a first-year coach getting a second chance in Denver, said he asked his counterpart about delegating responsibility to his staff and they also talked about their respective comebacks.
Malone said they talked about “the coaching lifestyle and we talked about my getting fired in (Sacramento) and when he got fired in Houston and how it really does make you stronger and makes you a better coach the next opportunity you get.”
Asked if he chuckled when the schedule came out and he saw the Nuggets open at Houston, where Ty Lawson was traded this summer after another drunken driving arrest, Malone said, “We wish Ty well. I mean that sincerely. That’s not just coach talk. But it was a move that we felt was a good move for us and allows us to really hand the ball to Emmanuel (Mudiay) from Day 1.”
Mudiay is the Broncos’ first-round draft pick.
“But as far as Ty Lawson goes, I hope he’s ready to get his life in order and if he does that, we all know he’s a special player,” Malone said.
Malone also was asked if he saw any athletes at the Broncos practice who could give the NBA a try.
“Yeah, the backup quarterback,” he said of Brock Osweiler, who’s 6-foot-8 and spurned a basketball scholarship at Gonzaga to focus on football in college.
“I know he played very well in that game at Seattle and I hope he can have a great season, but I heard he was a pretty good high school basketball player, so if he wants to come over here and help us out, he’s more than welcome,” Malone joked. “And I promise Coach Kubiak he won’t get hurt.”
In keeping with the hoops theme, linebacker Shaquil Barrett, one of the stars in Denver’s preseason opener at Seattle last week, revealed that yes, he was indeed named for ex-NBA great Shaquille O’Neal.
“I didn’t know that until probably four years ago,” Barrett said. “I asked my dad and he told me I was.”
Barrett, who’s 6-foot-2 and weighs 250, said he can do an impression of his namesake.
“Yeah, I can dunk,” Barrett said. “I can shoot free throws, too.”
So, maybe not an exact impression.
NOTES: WR Emmanuel Sanders (hamstring) was held out Monday and will be sidelined until Thursday, Kubiak said. … CB Chris Harris Jr. (hamstring) and RB C.J. Anderson (ankle) returned to action. … Hurt at practice were: T Charles Sweeton (dislocated finger) and CB Tony Carter (tight hamstring).
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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