ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A year ago, the Broncos held their annual summer scrimmage, and many of those packed into the stadium's lower bowl that night wondered if, after a year off because of multiple neck surgeries, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would be able to take a hit.
Saturday night, in a downpour, those in the seats watched with delight as Manning made like Kevin Costner in Bull Durham and took two belly flops in the rain.
"We were just trying to do something ... it was fun," Manning said. "I think I got pretty good range. (I) felt like a kid. I don't know the last time I got to do that."
When the rain finally let up and the lightning stopped, the Broncos did take the field following a 45-minute weather delay for an abbreviated workout. And Manning was smooth against the second-team defense, going 4-of-6 on 10-play scoring drive.
Manning finished the touchdown drive with a 4-yard toss to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Manning rolled right and threw back to the middle, where Thomas was the third read on the play.
Manning did wear a glove on his throwing hand in a steady rain.
"Thought I threw it pretty decent given the weather," Manning said.
Rookie running back Montee Ball and tight end Julius Thomas each made an appearance during the 12 plays the starting offense had the ball, showing that the plan is for them to have roles early on when the regular season rolls around. Ronnie Hillman opened at running back with the starters.
Manning said the Broncos were watching the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in the locker room during the delay."We weren't sure what we were going to do," Manning said. "We were sitting around watching the Hall of Fame, we got to see some of the speeches."Manning said he texted Bill Parcells, during Parcells' speech, offering that the team was watching the former Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys head coach. Manning added Parcells' speech "made me proud to play football."
Broncos coach John Fox said the team made it through the 36-play scrimmage with no new injuries "so that was good." Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle) and tight end Jacob Tamme (thigh) did not participate.