ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Ryan Harris feels right at home, enjoying the orange-clad crowds and orange sunsets at training camp once again.
The eighth-year offensive tackle from Notre Dame kept his house in suburban Denver when the Broncos gave up on him back in 2010.
He retreated there after the Eagles cut him in 2011 and he decided against relocating when he made a comeback in Houston, where he played two years before going to Kansas City in 2014.
“I love the Denver area, especially the food scene,” said Harris, who refuses to fuel up at fast-food joints. “As athletes, you’re always trying to look for fresh ingredients, and Denver’s got a great food scene, whether you’re getting sandwiches or dinners, you’ve got fresh farm-to-table.”
Harris signed with the Broncos on May 28 after Ryan Clady blew out his left knee. The Broncos wanted to add depth and experience to a young offensive line, but they’ve gotten much more than that.
Harris, who didn’t have to hire any movers when he signed, saved his big move for the first week of training camp when he leapfrogged Chris Clark and Michael Schofield and wedged himself into the starting lineup at right tackle.
“Tackles are hard to find,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “When we had the unfortunate thing happen to (Clady), for us to get right on top of getting Ryan Harris in here, boy, it looks bigger each and every day.”
Harris didn’t have to search out any new restaurants. In fact, one of the biggest changes since he last played for the Broncos was the gourmet chef the team hired last year.
“It’s been an easy transition,” he said, smiling.
Also protecting 39-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning — who worked out of the pistol Friday — is veteran right guard Louis Vasquez and three players whose next NFL snap will be their first: Ty Sambrailo, Max Garcia and Matt Paradis.
Harris said all this angst over the young offensive line is nothing new to him.
“My first year I started here, 2008, Ryan Clady was a rookie and I had never played and people had concerns there and I think we gave up 12 sacks on the whole season,” Harris said. “And that goes back to the whole thing ‘you’re not until you are.’ And that happens very quickly. You’re not experienced until you play and then all of a sudden you’re an experienced group.”
Harris said he’s constantly peppered with questions from the young O-linemen, and not just about football.
“There’s so much they’re dealing with,” Harris said, like where to get groceries and gas, whether to buy or rent.
“There’s a lot coming at them outside of football and then you add the fastest, strongest players they’ve ever played against and there’s a lot happening,” Harris said. “So, I try to really engage the young guys and say, ‘Hey, I saw that happen. Think about doing it this way or do it that way.’ Because there are a lot of questions.”
That mentorship must be paying off. Pro Bowl linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller said they see daily improvement from the young, revamped O-line.
“They’re all in sync and they’re all working together,” Miller said. “That’s what you want in an offensive line. If you have five guys, five tough guys, working together, it’s going to be pretty tough on the other team. That’s what we see out here with those guys. You can’t even tell they’re rookies.”
NOTES: WR Emmanuel Sanders (hamstring) sat out Friday. Kubiak called his injury “very minor.” … Solomon Patton, claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay in May, caught two deep balls, one from Manning and the other from Trevor Siemian. “Obviously, we know his returning is a specialty of his. But if he can go out there and make plays as a wide out, it’s going to make him even more valuable to making this football team,” Kubiak said.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton