ENGLEWOOOD, Colo. -- It was a football-futbol kind of day at the Denver Broncos complex Friday.
With Manchester United and AS Roma set to play Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High as part of the Guinness International Champions Cup, representatives for both teams, including the entire AS Roma team, made their way to Broncos practice Friday.
Former United great Denis Irwin and Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway exchanged jerseys while AS Roma coach Rudi Garcia exchanged jerseys with Broncos head coach John Fox after practice.
Also following Broncos practice several AS Roma players took to the field to toss some passes, run some routes and took their turns kicking field goals and punting with Broncos kicker Matt Prater and punter Britton Colquitt. Most of the team's players and coaches also strained to get a picture or two of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning with one of the team's coaches explaining "he is the best in the world.''
“I never played when I younger, I wish I did,’’ said safety David Bruton, one of the biggest soccer fans on the Broncos roster. "This is cool to see them.''
Bruton visited England last year and attended a Manchester United game.
“It was so intense … I went to Man U against Man City, it was intense, you could tell that was a huge rivalry,’’ Bruton said. “It’s loud in that stadium, Old Trafford was amazing. And I don’t really like going to sporting events, going to watch basketball or baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed being there for that. I’ll for back for sure.’’
Broncos tight end Julius Thomas also passed around his helmet and shoulder pads for the AS Roma players to try on. Several AS Roma players tried some field goals.
One of the players then turned plenty of heads, Broncos' included, when he launched a 50-yard rocket just over the crossbar after having attempted the kick from atop the numbers painted on the field.
“From that angle, that was ridiculous,’’ Bruton said. “You can tell they're elite athletes, the best of the best, trying something for the first time and they still show what they can do.’’