Broncos Football

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, front, runs the rope line to greet fans before taking part in drills during the NFL football team's training camp Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, at the Broncos' headquarters in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The last touchdown catch of Brandon Marshall’s NFL career was on a pass connection with Russell Wilson in Denver. They reconnected after the Broncos’ practice Saturday and duplicated the play.

How weird. 

Robert Ripley would not believe it. Journey would.

Four years ago, in the opening game of the season at Mile High stadium, the game was tied at 17 in the third quarter when Seahawks teammates Wilson and Marshall coupled for a 20-yard score.

It was Marshall’s 83rd touchdown reception in a 13-year career and Wilson’s 162nd touchdown throw in his seventh season. They didn’t celebrate another TD. Brandon was released after appearing in seven games with Seattle and never played in the league again.

Saturday Wilson, now the Broncos’ quarterback, and Marshall, who was a TV talk show commentator and is host of his own podcast and national radio show, met up at Dove Valley.

When the hill horde, the players and most of the media departed the field, and a few hangers-on paying attention, “DangeRuss’’, who has been named to nine Pro Bowls, fired one more touchdown pass to “The Beast’’, a six-time Pro Bowler. Just as on Sept. 9, 2018, the Wilson-Marshall linked again. It didn’t count for anything other than an interesting moment in Broncos lore.

At 38, 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, Brandon looks as if he still could play. At 33, the 5-11, 215-pound Wilson still will, for perhaps 10 more years.

Russell had his most proficient day of camp, completing all but two of his attempts and had a pair of terrific crowd-rousing touchdowns to Courtland Sutton, a latter-day Marshall, and Jerry Jeudy.

In our conversation Marshall, wearing Broncos sneakers, seemed thrilled for the team in his brief return. In Brandon’s four electric, eclectic, eccentric, excruciating years in Denver, and three more in Chicago, Brandon was paired primarily with quarterback Jay Cutler. Thankfully, Marshall dealt with his diagnosed borderline personality disorder, is married with three children and began a national mental health awareness campaign.

In August 2009 Brandon walked during a Broncos’ running session, punted a ball nearly out of the Broncos’ facility and swatted away a pass. Coach Josh McDaniels suspended him. After I criticized Brandon, he referred to me – understandably – as “a clown’’. We have become friends since.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Wilson not only threw Marshall a pass, but he also continued to become the Darling of Dove Valley and Denver. He’s the anti-Cutler and has become an aggregation of Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning in their first training camps with the Broncos. Peyton was at Broncos camp on Tuesday; Timmy probably won’t return to Dove Valley.

Cirque du Broncos is back.

When practice concluded Saturday, Wilson, as usual, signed autographs for 45 minutes, raced with kids wearing Broncos jerseys and greeted everyone close by. He’s a joy to behold.

During a team water break Wilson didn’t slow down. He asked for a football and called over rookie backup center Luke Wattenberg, and they exchanged five minutes worth of snaps. At one point Wilson and reserve quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson stood at the 50-yard line of the adjoining field and took turns flinging passes toward a metal circular target above the corner cone in the end zone. Rypien flew the ball into the bull’s eye net once and drew an ovation; Johnson wasn’t particularly close, and finally Wilson banged the ball off the objective. They were having fun. Sutton joined them. His efforts were high and outside, but the Broncos won’t request that their No. 1 receiver hurl a 50-yard pass in a real game.

Wilson threw short (to Albert O) and long (to Courtland) and in between (to the truck load of wide receivers, tight ends and running backs). Coach Nathaniel Hackett would say later that the Broncos have finished installing their complicated (West Coast-style) offense and will spend the rest of camp refining the system.

Wilson certainly is comfortable, and the Broncos, in pads, had their most energized and up-tempo practice. (They were running plays within 20 seconds.) And the Broncos even had the first friendly fight. Expect an inhospitable attitude when the Cowboys hold a joint session with the Broncos on Thursday.

Of Wilson, Hackett said Saturday: "He’s very unique in terms of his positivity.’’

The Broncos’ other slogan could be: “In Russ Us Trust’’.

Sign Up For Free: Denver AM Update

Your morning rundown of the latest news from overnight and the stories to follow throughout the day.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.