ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — What Tom Moore saw this week was oh, so familiar. Short or long, the throws were potent and precise, smacking sternums with both authority and a loud thwack.
Peyton Manning is most certainly back.
The Denver Broncos wrapped up their three-day minicamp that capped their offseason work Thursday with another spirited practice marked by precision and power from their new 36-year-old quarterback.
On hand as a guest all week was Moore, Manning's offensive coordinator for all but one season when the two were in Indianapolis.
"Watching these three days, he looked excellent to me," said Moore.
Manning has shown no ill effects of the nerve issue that caused weakness in his throwing arm last year, required four neck operations, forced him to miss the entire 2011 season and led to his release from the Colts.
The biggest free agent in NFL history looks better and better every day as he regains strength and adjusts to his new team.
"We don't think about the injury anymore," said receiver Brandon Stokley, who played with Manning in Indianapolis. "And I'm not sure he does, either."
The Broncos took a chance by signing the league's only four-time MVP to a five-year, $96 million deal in March, and with offseason on-field work out of the way and training camp seven weeks away, all indications are they're getting the Peyton Manning of old.
Manning averaged 42 passes a game in his last full season, in 2010, but the Broncos don't plan on having him air it out that much. They're meshing some of the power formations they used in leading the league in rushing last year with some of the spread formations that Manning was accustomed to running in Indianapolis.
The reconstruction of both quarterback and offense appears to be going very well, indeed.
"We're going full speed ahead. We're being aggressive with everything we're doing," offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. "He's fine. We have no concerns right now. We're not worrying about it. We're moving forward."
PATRIOTS BEGIN VACATION: At Foxborough, Mass., the New England Patriots started their summer a day early.
Coach Bill Belichick canceled the final day of practice at the team's minicamp on Thursday. It was a surprise to the players.
The team has five weeks until the start of training camp. Veterans have been reminding the younger players that it's not a vacation. They need to show up in good shape.
The Patriots received their AFC championship rings on Wednesday. Belichick said it was a bittersweet moment and it's time to move on from last year.
SUGGS SAYS HE MAY BE OUT LONGER: At Owings Mills, Md., Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has backed away from his assertion that he will return from a torn right Achillies tendon in November, but insists he will play in 2012.
Suggs had surgery on May 8. He recently discarded his crutches and now walks in a protective boot.
Appearing at the Ravens' final minicamp session Thursday, Suggs said of his predicted November return: "Maybe we were shooting too far."
He later added, "I'm not a doctor. I will be in a Baltimore Ravens uniform in 2012. The only question is when."
SEAHAWKS STILL LOOKING FOR A QB: At Renton, Wash., even with a full offseason of OTAs, individual workouts and minicamps, the Seattle Seahawks will still head into training camp next month with a three-way competition at quarterback.
That was the word from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll after Seattle wrapped up its three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday. Seattle will continue with its plan of trying to evenly split reps between incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, free agent signing Matt Flynn and rookie third-round draft pick Russell Wilson when training camp opens next month.
Carroll also said Thursday that he was impressed by Brian Banks during his two-day tryout this week, but no decision has been made on whether he'll be invited to training camp.
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