Broncos' John Elway I Love Drew Lock But ... Flacco's 'The Guy'

EXCLUSIVE
IT'S FLACCO'S SPOT
TMZSports.com

Denver Broncos honcho John Elway is super excited about his rookie QB, Drew Lock -- but tells TMZ Sports the #1 spot DEFINITELY belongs to Joe Flacco.

We know ... it ain't exactly bombshell news -- but it's cool to hear Elway talk up his young rookie.

"He's a young guy. He's got a great future," Elway said about the 2nd-round pick out of Missouri.

Of course, there's no doubt Flacco is the starter -- the Broncos traded for him during the off-season and they'll be paying him $18.5 MILLION this year.

On his way out of Craig's in L.A., Elway -- who stopped for pics with fans and even signed autographs -- said he thinks Flacco can do what Peyton Manning did ... and become the missing the piece that leads Denver to the Super Bowl.

Elway also threw his support behind Brittany Bowlen -- who's rumored to be taking over the team in the wake of her father's passing.

As we previously reported, Pat Bowlen -- who owned the team for decades -- died last week after his battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Pat Bowlen Denver Broncos Owner Dead at 75

Pat Bowlen -- the longtime owner of the Denver Broncos who helped the team win THREE Super Bowls -- has died at 75.

The Broncos announced Friday the Hall of Famer passed away late Thursday night following his battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Bowlen is one of the most successful team owners in sports history ... he bought the Broncos back in 1984 and helped SEVEN different rosters make the Super Bowl.

Pat's Broncos also averaged more than 10 wins per season in his 35-year tenure as Broncos' owner.

"We are saddened to inform everyone that our beloved husband and father, Pat Bowlen, passed on to the next chapter of his life late Thursday night peacefully at home surrounded by family," his family said in a statement released by the team.

"His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans."

Pat -- who stepped down from his day-to-day role as owner of the Broncos in 2014 because of his battle with Alzheimer's -- is most famously known for his relationship with John Elway.

After Elway won his first Super Bowl with the Broncos in the 1997 season ... Pat famously grabbed the Lombardi Trophy and said, "This one's for John!"

Of course, about 20 years later -- after Elway won Super Bowl 50 as Denver's general manager -- he said, "This one's for Pat!"

Bowlen was just named a Hall of Famer this year ... and will be officially inducted at a ceremony in Canton, Ohio this summer.

“Our family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received in recent years," Pat's family said ... "Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight."

RIP

Archie Manning No Hard Feelings ... Over Giants Drafting Eli's Replacement

EXCLUSIVE
GIANT CHALLENGE AHEAD
TMZSports.com

If ya think Eli Manning's dad is pissed the Giants drafted his son's replacement ... think again -- 'cause Archie Manning tells TMZ Sports, Daniel Jones is a GOOD pick for the G-men.

"They drafted a really good, young man," Archie says ... "A really good, young player."

Of course, the Giants just picked up the Duke QB with the No. 6 overall selection in April's NFL Draft ... and that means Eli's days are officially numbered in NY.

But, Archie says he ain't mad Eli's team drafted a guy to replace him ... and, in fact, Papa Manning says he actually saw it coming.

"I knew they were probably going to draft a QB," Archie says.

As for how Eli is handling the situation, Archie tells us the 38-year-old isn't ready to give up the starting QB reins just yet ... saying, "he's working hard, ready to go."

By the way, we also asked how Peyton is dealing with rooting for both the Colts and Broncos now that he's retired ... and Archie says he's finding a way to do it just fine!!!

Denver Broncos Hosting Grad. Ceremonies ... For Denver School After Deadly Shooting

Breaking News

The Denver Broncos are doing an awesome thing to help local families in the aftermath of a tragic school shooting ... offering up their practice facility so students have a place to hold their graduation ceremonies.

Last week -- just days after a student opened fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, killing one and injuring 8 others -- officials reached out to the Broncos for some help.

The school needed a place to hold its ceremonies for its graduating students ... and the Broncos stepped up in a big way -- happily giving away their UCHealth Training Center in Dove Valley.

"STEM School reached out to the Broncos late last week about the possibility of hosting its graduations at UCHealth Training Center," Broncos' executive vice president of public and community relations Patrick Smyth said in a statement.

"We told them we’d be happy to help the school, the students and their families in any way possible."

The Broncos played host to a kindergarten ceremony Thursday -- The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala reported -- and are expected to play host to a bigger grad ceremony early next week.

For their part, Broncos players have also reached out in the aftermath of the tragedy, with superstar pass rusher Bradley Chubb saying, "Got a chance to meet the graduating seniors from the STEM School out here in Co."

"It was a blessing seeing smiles on those kids faces after such a tragic event. #STEMStrong"

Top Broncos Rookies Okay After Airport Shuttle Crash ... 'We've Taken Worse Hits!!!'

Breaking News
SHUTTLE SHAKE-UP
SplashNews.com

Two of the Denver Broncos top NFL draft picks --QB Drew Lock and TE Noah Fant -- were involved in an airport shuttle crash at LAX on Wednesday ... but don't worry, THEY'RE FINE!!

In fact, Lock was laughing afterward and joked, "We've taken worse hits!"

Fant (the 20th overall pick) and Lock (the 42nd overall pick) had just touched down in Los Angeles and boarded a shuttle to take them from the plane to the terminal when it collided with another vehicle.

"The shuttle hit something," Lock said ... "It was wild."

Lock -- who was standing inside of the shuttle at the time -- says he doesn't believe anyone was injured in the wreck ... noting, "It was just really weird."

Lock says the crash was "pretty hard" -- but both guys seemed fine afterward ... joking that they wouldn't be filing insurance claims or anything like that.

There's more ...

Lock was also asked about a potential rift with Broncos starting QB Joe Flacco -- who recently said it was not "my job" to mentor Lock.

FLACCO'S BEEN GOOD TO ME
SplashNews.com

But, Lock says there's NO BEEF AT ALL -- in fact, he's been getting along pretty well with Flacco so far.

"Me and Joe ... he's taught me a lot so far," Lock said.

"He's been great to me."

See, everything's working out for the Broncos.

Peyton Manning Opening A Saloon ... Giddy Up In 2020!!!

Breaking News

In Tennessee and looking for a classy place to booze up while feeling like you're in a country western movie??

Peyton Manning clearly knows the feeling ... and is fixing the issue -- by opening up a "high-end watering hole" in Knoxville in 2020!!!

The QB and Graduate Hotels announced Thursday they're building a "western-inspired" bar and restaurant near University of Tennessee's campus.

The name of the place? Saloon 16 ... a homage to Manning's nickname, "The Sheriff," as well as the No. 16 jersey he wore when he was a star with the Volunteers.

It's supposed to be an awesome spot -- complete with dartboards, jukeboxes, a piano and an outdoor dining area.

Graduate Hotels says the place will open its doors in the spring of 2020.

OMAHA!!!!!!!!!

Broncos #1 Pick Noah Fant 1st NFL Paycheck?! I'M GOING BIG!!!

EXCLUSIVE
TRUCKIN' TO DENVER
TMZSports.com

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant -- the #20 overall pick in the NFL Draft -- says he already knows how he's gonna spend that first big NFL paycheck ... and it's straight out of a country music song.

You ever hear that song "That's My Kind of Night" by Luke Bryan? Where he talks about rollin' in his big black jacked up truck, rollin' on 35s, pretty girl by my side?!

Yeah ... that's Fant's dream -- and he's about to make it a reality.

Last year's 20th overall pick signed a 4-year, $11.8 mil contract with a $6.6 mil signing bonus -- so, expect Fant's contract to be somewhere in the same neighborhood.

Fant tells TMZ Sports ... a bunch of Broncos stars reached out to him after the draft Thursday night, from Joe Flacco to Von Miller and more.

"It's gonna be a fun ride," Fant says.

Fant was a stud as a tight end back at Iowa -- where he caught 39 passes for 519 yards and 7 TDs in 2018. He was named First Team All-Big 10 in 2018.

At the NFL combine, he ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash (SPEEED) and put up 20 reps on the bench press (STRONG!).

And, get this ... dude wants to be an orthopedic surgeon after his NFL career wraps up!

Good luck!

Demaryius Thomas Crash Scene Photos ... Show Gnarly Wreckage

Demaryius Thomas is lucky to be alive today -- let alone healthy and ready to play in the NFL -- 'cause TMZ Sports has obtained pics of his car crash ... and the scene is gnarly.

Thomas was doing 70 MPH in a 30 MPH zone in Denver at around 12:20 AM on Feb. 16 when he lost control of his SUV and crashed it into a curb.

DANGEROUS SPEEDS

One witness tells us the car flipped several times before coming to a stop right-side-up ... dozens of yards from where it took off from.

Thomas and his two passengers somehow escaped from the crash okay -- which seems like a miracle when you see the damage that was done.

The pics show a mangled car ... the back is completely smashed in while the engine is in pieces, falling out of the front.

Thomas was hit with a felony charge of vehicular assault for the incident, but he reached a deal with prosecutors this week to avoid jail time.

The former Broncos star pled guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of careless driving resulting in injury in exchange for having the felony charge dropped.

DT's punishment? One year probation and 50 hours of community service, plus fines and restitution.

Thomas is currently a free agent after being cut by the Houston Texans earlier this offseason.

Aqib Talib & Michael Crabtree Squash Beef ... At Texas Go-Kart Track

EXCLUSIVE

Remember when Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree HATED each other -- with Talib snatching Crabtree's chain in TWO separate on-field incidents???

Yeah, that beef's now been squashed ... and it's all 'cause of a Texas go-kart track.

Here's the deal ... a witness tells us Talib was at Kartland in Frisco, Texas with his family -- when Crabtree walked in with friends and family of his own.

We're told there were tense moments when the two NFL stars saw each other -- with family members looking like they were fearing a fight was on the way.

But, one witness tells us the two decided to take it outside and squash their beef.

We're told the DB and the WR talked it out for several minutes ... and appeared to finally smooth things over.

If you're unfamiliar ... the two absolutely despised each other when Talib was a Bronco and Crabtree was a Raider.

During one game in the 2016 season, Talib ripped Crabtree's gold chain straight off his neck. In another game in 2017, the two fought again -- with Talib snatchin' Crab's chain again!!!

But, seems like everything's smoothed over now ... and props to the guys for handling the situation well.

NFL's Shane Ray Amazing $10,000 Leg Sleeve Tattoo

Exclusive Details
EPIC INK

Shane Ray is heading into free agency with some INCREDIBLE new body art ... the ex-Broncos stud just got his leg tatted -- and it might be the best $10,000 he's ever spent!

The stud pass rusher -- Denver's 1st-round pick in 2015 -- wanted to get some warrior-themed artwork done to represent all the battles he's faced in his NFL career so far.

So ... Shane hit up his friend and renowned tattoo artist, Katrina "Kat Tat" Jackson -- and they got to work.

Kat tells TMZ Sports she started on Ray's leg in L.A. a couple of weeks ago at Enigma Beverly Hills ... but the majority of the piece was done at Shane's Denver home this past weekend. And yeah, Shane paid for the plane ticket to fly her out. How baller is that!?

Kat says the sleeve took 3 sessions -- a 14-hour first day, 8 hours the next day and 4 more hours to cap it off ... and it all led to a SICK piece that features warriors of all shapes and sizes.

In all ... Kat tells us the tat took around 30 hours total to finish -- and cost in the area of $10,000 to complete!!!

By the way, Kat was the artist behind Shane's epic back piece that got the pass rusher in trouble with Denver fans because of the prominent Kansas City Chiefs logo.

(FYI, Shane's from the Kansas City area and the tat is a tribute to his hometown).

But, Ray is about to be a free agent later this month ... and Kansas City COULD always use another pass rusher -- so could that be where he ends up???

Stay tuned.

NFL's Chad Kelly Pleads Not Guilty In Vacuum Cleaner Beatdown Case

EXCLUSIVE

This is gonna be interesting ...

Ex-Broncos QB Chad Kelly pled NOT GUILTY to felony criminal trespassing stemming from allegations he broke into a Colorado home after Von Miller's Halloween party ... only to be chased out by a person beating him with a vacuum cleaner tube.

The 24-year-old appeared in court in Arapahoe County, Colorado on Monday to enter the plea. This is a huge deal for Kelly -- because if convicted, he faces up to 3 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The trouble for Kelly started after he left Von Miller's Halloween party on October 22 ... and allegedly wandered into a nearby home.

Cops say Kelly broke into the home around 1:17 AM and sat down on the couch next to a woman who was holding her baby. Kelly was allegedly mumbling incoherently at the time.

Police say someone in the home chased Kelly out while striking him with a tube from a vacuum cleaner. He was ultimately arrested for felony criminal trespassing.

Broncos GM John Elway was clearly pissed about the whole ordeal ... and cut the 24-year-old QB just hours after the arrest.

Elway and the team said in a statement, "Even though Chad's no longer part of our team, we've offered to help him however we can and are supportive of him in every way possible."

Kelly is due back in court in April.

Colin Kaepernick 'Came Out on Top' In NFL Settlement ... Says Brandon Marshall

EXCLUSIVE
HE STILL LOVES IT
TMZSports.com

Colin Kaepernick's ex-teammate, Brandon Marshall, says he views CK's settlement with the NFL as a victory for the QB ... explaining, "It showed that he had some good evidence."

Remember, Brandon -- who played college football with Kap at Nevada -- was one of the first players to take a knee and join in Colin's protest to put a spotlight on police violence against minorities.

While the terms of Kap's settlement with the NFL have not been made public, there are reports he got somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 mil ... and Marshall says that makes him "extremely happy."

"The fact that [the NFL] settled showed that [Kaepernick] had some good evidence. Whatever the outcome, I feel like Kap came out on top, so I'm happy for him."

Marshall says he knows Kaepernick still wants to play in the NFL -- and hopes teams can "let bygones be bygones and let him play quarterback."

Brandon says Kap is one of the hardest working guys he's ever met -- and he's confident he can still play at a high-level for a bunch of NFL teams.

Next season starts in September. Stay tuned ...

NFL's Brandon Marshall Open to New Deal with Broncos ... I Love Denver

EXCLUSIVE
FUTURE'S LOOKING BRIGHT
TMZSports.com

NFL linebacker Brandon Marshall says he's not closing the book on a possible return to the Denver Broncos -- telling TMZ Sports, "It could definitely happen."

The Broncos already notified Marshall they will not be picking up his option -- which will officially make him a free agent on March 13. Marshall has played in Denver since 2013, where he grew into one of the best LBs in the league.

And, while Brandon's agent is out speaking to other teams (there's most definitely interest in the 29-year-old) ... Marshall says there's no bad blood with Denver and he could see a situation where he's back in orange in 2019.

"I wouldn't rule out a return yet," Marshall says ... "Still a chance I could return to the team. It could definitely happen."

Marshall not only lives in the Denver area, but he's also heavily involved in the local community and considers Denver home.

But, for a return to Denver to make sense, it has to make dollars.

"If things work its way out, I'm definitely open to a return ... they have to be open as well, we'll see."

Marshall was limited to 11 games in 2018 due to a knee injury -- but still logged 42 tackles.

He has the most solo tackles of any Broncos player since 2013. Over the course of his career, Marshall has 419 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.

He also has a Super Bowl ring from the Broncos victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Not bad for a guy selected in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Peyton Manning Topless & Hairless In Miami Beach Football Sesh

EXCLUSIVE
GO LONG
MEGA

Judging by Peyton Manning's beach bod, no football and a ton of Nationwide commercials does a body good!!!

Check out the retired 42-year-old on the beach in Miami this week -- tossin' around a football with his kids ... and showing off his shirtless, hairless physique.

Look, he's no Cam Newton ... but he's in pretty damn good shape for a guy who's been retired for nearly 3 years!!!

Check the vid ... dude's flashing bulky traps, decent biceps, faint abs -- and yeah, the cannon arm is still there too!!!

Of course, Peyton quit the NFL after winning the Super Bowl in 2016 (following the 2015 season) -- ending one of the most impressive careers in the history of the league.

It all begs the question ... is his bod better than Tom Brady's right now???

A shirtless TB12 was spotted on vacation with Gisele in Costa Rica just last week ... you be the judge.

Peyton is a surefire 1st ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2021.

Besides winning 2 Super Bowls (1 with the Indianapolis Colts, 1 with the Denver Broncos) ... he was a 14-time Pro Bowler, 7-time 1st team All-Pro and was the NFL MVP 5 times!!!

Plus, he led the NFL in passing yards 3 different seasons ... and was No. 1 in passing TDs in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2013.

Peyton's little bro, Eli Manning, is still in the league -- but at 38 years old and following a less-than-stellar 2018 campaign ... the Giants QB might be joining his brother on the beach in the near future.

Elvis Dumervil I'm A Hall of Famer ... A Top Pass Rusher Of My Era!

EXCLUSIVE
I FEEL LIKE I BELONG
TMZSports.com

Elvis Dumervil says he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame ... telling TMZ Sports, "I'm able to compete with anyone in my era of rushing the passer."

The ex-Broncos and Ravens star is widely considered by NFL pundits as a fringe HOFer after playing 11 seasons ... but, he says his resume is good enough in his mind to get in.

"Do I feel like I belong? Of course I feel like I belong."

Dumervil might have a point ... dude was a 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time All-Pro -- AND he finished with 105.5 career sacks.

In fact, of the 25 players ahead of him on the all-time sack list that are currently eligible for the Hall of Fame -- only 7 are still waiting on the call.

But, Elvis says you shouldn't even compare him to those guys ... he's telling us it's his own draft class -- one that featured Mario Williams -- that he should be up against.

BTW, while Dumervil waits to become HOF eligible -- he's building up a pretty successful real estate business in Miami ... telling us, he's the owner of over 600 multi-family units!!!

BETTERING THE COMMUNITY
TMZSports.com

Elvis Dumervil Broncos Trade Is Desperate ... Flacco Ain't Manning!!

EXCLUSIVE
ELWAY'S TAKING A GAMBLE
TMZSports.com

John Elway made a desperate move trading for Joe Flacco ... and it could end up being a HUGE mistake -- so says Elvis Dumervil, who tells TMZ Sports, "Flacco is no Peyton Manning."

Elway took a page out of his 2012 Broncos playbook Wednesday ... acquiring a veteran Super Bowl MVP with the hopes of revitalizing a tired Denver franchise.

The problem? Elvis says Flacco ain't even close to what Manning was when Denver picked him up 7 years ago ... and now the former Bronco is SERIOUSLY concerned for the team's GM.

"It's a big gamble. Definitely desperate, no doubt ... It can be a great deal, or it can be another bad decision by John Elway."

Elvis' biggest issue with the move is Flacco's skill set -- the pass rusher tells us Joe NEEDS a good OC to thrive ... and he's worried that ain't there in Denver.

In fact, Dumervil says if Flacco DOESN'T have an elite play caller ... things are gonna get ugly at Mile High quickly -- the exact opposite of what went down after Elway signed Manning.

"[Elway] did a genius move with Peyton Manning. But unfortunately, Joe Flacco is no Peyton Manning."

On the other side of things, Dumervil -- who also played for the Ravens -- says Baltimore is the clear winner in the trade ... telling us the move will only help Lamar Jackson grow.