Star-Bulletin Sports


Denver receiver Ashley Lelie caught a pass yesterday during morning practice, his first since straining his hamstring.

Lelie back
and feeling good

Associated Press

GREELEY, Colo. >> Denver Broncos receiver Ashley Lelie returned to practice yesterday after missing a week of training camp with a strained hamstring.

Lelie, the Broncos' first-round draft pick out of Hawaii, ran nearly full speed in most of the drills and said he didn't feel any pain. He said he expects to play when the Broncos open the preseason Saturday against Chicago.

"I'm about 90 percent," Lelie said. "I feel good, but I've just got to kind of conserve myself on some things and know my limits and not overstride sometimes."

Lelie had a good minicamp in June and had impressed the coaching staff in camp before straining his right hamstring July 29. Even though he missed a week of camp, Lelie was still listed as the second left wide receiver behind Rod Smith when the depth chart came out on Monday.

In his first practice back, Lelie didn't look like he had lost much ground.

"I told him not to come back unless he could go full speed, but guys always come back a little bit early," Shanahan said. "I would have to take a look at film to make sure. When guys come back we want them to practice and not go three-quarter speed because you can't compete at three-quarters speed."

The return of Lelie came at a good time for the Broncos.

The team announced before practice that Rob Moore, who signed with Denver in the offseason, had been released.

Moore, who was plagued by injuries the past two seasons with Arizona, was listed with Herb Haygood as a fourth receiver on the depth chart. He had been limited to one practice per day because of swelling in his knee and a sore groin, and wasn't likely to make the team with the depth Denver has at the position.

"I wasn't going to put him in a situation where he was going to be the fourth team or fifth team and the only way he would get an outside chance to make the team is if somebody got hurt," Shanahan said.

The Broncos also lost Kevin Kasper, who is listed second on the depth chart behind Ed McCaffrey, to a sprained ankle early in practice, but Shanahan said he should be back in two to three days. Shanahan also said Scottie Montgomery, who had arthroscopic surgery on his knee last week, could be back as early as Monday.

"In camp, you always get little nicks and aches, and I don't think any of them are really that serious yet," Lelie said. "As long as we all stay pretty healthy we'll be all right."

Elam not near long-term deal: Denver kicker Jason Elam, another former UH player, is still struggling to reach a long-term deal with the Broncos, his agent told

"No way," agent Jack Reale told when asked if a deal is imminent. "I think we might define progress (in negotiations) a lot differently than they do. If this is the best they can do, then this will be Jason's last season in Denver."

Reale called the Broncos' latest offer, $1.714 million a year with a $500,000 signing bonus, last week "a step backwards," according to

The Broncos had offered Elam $1.757 million a year with a $1.75 million up-front bonus in February.

Denver designated Elam its franchise player this spring, limiting the free-agent's ability to test the market. Rather than hold out, Elam, who is seeking a long-term contract, signed for $1.465 million for one year on the day the Broncos reported to training camp.

That contract stipulates that the Broncos cannot designate Elam as a franchise or transition free agent for next season.

According to, the Broncos are making Elam's kickoffs part of the negotiations. Some of the contract would be linked to how well he kicked, particularly away from Denver's thin air.

Elam wants his pay to reflect the salaries of the NFL's highest paid kickers.

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