Cutler looks good in opening practice; Marshall not so much

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With his diabetes and his passes both under control, quarterback Jay Cutler looked very impressive on the Denver Broncos' first workout of training camp.

His top target wasn't nearly so sharp.

Brandon Marshall, whose offseason was marred by a serious arm injury, another run-in with the law and a summons to the commissioner's office, was gassed throughout the Friday morning workout, taking a knee after just about every route he ran.

When it was over, Marshall trudged off the practice fields with his right shoe in his hand, saying he couldn't stop to speak with reporters because he had to go see a doctor.

Was he OK?

"Oh, yeah," Marshall said before slipping into team headquarters.

He was mostly quiet on the field, too.

"I think he's a little out of shape," Cutler said. "I mean, he needs to run a little bit. But he caught the ball well and he's physical. I'm excited to see him in a few weeks."

Cutler can only hope that he'll have Marshall, a third-year star who's coming off a breakout season, full-time in 2008.

Commissioner Roger Goodell is pondering punishment for the enigmatic 24-year-old wide receiver, who has been arrested three times in the last year and is due in court in September on a drunken driving charge.

The Broncos expect to hear back from the league about a possible suspension as early as next week.

"He's been through a lot this offseason," Cutler said. "To come out here and just not think about stuff and play football and do what he loves, I mean that's good."

Marshall missed most of the team's offseason workouts after a freak accident that landed him in the operating room for surgery on his right arm and called into question his maturity level again.

"It's time for me to grow up," Marshall said afterward, pledging to be a better citizen and teammate.

Marshall, a fourth-round draft choice in 2006 out of Central Florida, blossomed into the Broncos' best receiver last year, catching 102 passes for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns.

He started Friday's workout with a large bandage on his right arm but he later removed it.

"I knew he would be fine. He said his hand was fine and he caught a few one-handed on the right arm," Cutler said. "He looked good."

Observers were more impressed with Cutler.

"He's controlling the diabetes," coach Mike Shanahan said. "Obviously, he has a game plan. He's gained his weight back, the majority of his weight, and he looks good."

The third-year pro lost 35 pounds and some zip on his throws last season but neither he nor the Broncos heeded warning signs, including constant fatigue and unexplained weight loss, until team medical personnel noticed a high blood sugar reading in routine tests in March and sent him to a diabetes specialist.

Now, his blood sugars are down, his weight and spirits are up and his famous fastballs are back.

He ditched his insulin pump for practice but had a new glucometer on his left arm that provided constant readings. Occasionally, he came to the sideline for finger pricks to test his blood sugars.

"I feel good. I don't really think about it, but I have Greek (head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos) and he has all my stuff and he checks it and makes sure I am OK. If I need a Gatorade, they get me some Gatorade. Once I hit the field, I am not really thinking about it.

"I have a monitor that monitors my blood sugar every minute. Greek just walks by me and tells me where I am at. If I am feeling OK, then I feel OK. I do have a pump, but when it gets really hot out it gets a little sticky and I don't like messing with it."

Cutler said he's confident his strength and stamina won't wane like they did in 2007.

"Last year my body just wasn't reacting," he said. "I didn't know if I was going to make it to the end of the season to tell you the truth, but this year I am at the weight I kind of want to be at and I'll maybe gain a little bit more through camp."

Cutler had another reason to smile Friday: massive rookie left tackle Ryan Clady, the Boise State star who was the 12th player selected in the draft, signed a five-year deal with $11 million in guarantees just in time to start protecting Cutler's blind side from the start of training camp.

EXTRA POINTS: Shanahan said rookie DT Carlton Powell of Virginia Tech is out for the year with a torn Achilles' tendon that occurred during offseason conditioning. ... Free agent TE Edell Shepherd was carted off the field in tears after injuring his right knee. "He might have torn an ACL today, but I don't know," Shanahan said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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