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Marshall practices with Broncos, but his preseason debut still uncertain

DENVER -- Brandon Marshall is back in the mix offensively at practice, but it remains unclear whether the Broncos' disgruntled wide receiver will make his preseason debut Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said Marshall was fully involved in Tuesday's practice, the team's first since Saturday's 27-13 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The practice, which was closed to the media, was cut short about 45 minutes because of bad weather.

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"He did everything that we were doing there, he did our drills," McDaniels said of Marshall. "We didn't get to finish practice obviously, but it was a nice crisp practice today."

McDaniels said it was too early to say whether Marshall would make his first appearance in the Chicago game, which already features the return of former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to Invesco Field.

"We'll find out as we go through the week," McDaniels said. "When the players are ready to play, they'll play."

McDaniels held Marshall out of the Seattle game, saying the wide receiver wasn't prepared to take the field. Marshall missed the Broncos' preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers because of an injury and a court date.

Marshall, who has clashed with McDaniels and unsuccessfully tried to force his way out of town, has practiced just a handful of times this offseason. A Pro Bowl wide receiver with 206 receptions the past two seasons, Marshall has sought a new contract and, after the Broncos didn't act on his request, asked to be traded.

Marshall pulled a hamstring on the first weekend of training camp and didn't return until a week ago. But after telling reporters that he still wasn't up to speed on the new playbook, Marshall found himself largely limited to scout-team duties last week, imitating the routes that were to be run by Seahawks wide receivers for the benefit of the Broncos' defense.

Nevertheless, on paper, Marshall might have at least reclaimed his starting status with the Broncos, though that also is unclear.

On the latest depth chart issued by the team, Marshall is listed as a No. 1 receiver. But he's one of four wideouts listed as starters on a 12-player depth chart. The team previously listed Marshall in a No. 2 role.

McDaniels, meanwhile, took issue with the perception that the Marshall saga is weighing on him and the team.

"Nope," McDaniels said. "I think that's very inaccurate. We're going through our meetings. We're having practices. We're watching film, getting ready for opponents, and again, he's (Marshall) part of all that. We're just getting ready to play the season. That's what we're doing."

Notes: McDaniels, per the team's limited disclosure policy, declined to give an update on backup quarterback Chris Simms, who suffered an ankle injury during the Seattle game. Simms didn't practice Tuesday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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