Brandon Marshall receives threatening letter; Broncos investigating

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall says it was “extremely concerning” to receive a letter filled with racial slurs and threatening language.

“Just so many racist, derogatory terms that were in it … just a bunch of crazy things that was in it,” Marshall said Friday. “That’s what stood out to me, that somebody would have that much hate or malice toward me or put that much energy into writing something like that and send it to me. It takes so much energy to hate. I just don’t understand it.”

Marshall posted photos of the handwritten letter — which includes multiple threats and racial epithets — on his Instagram account Friday. The writer told Marshall “your time is coming, watch out,” and “we are ‘channeling’ a devastating hard hit for you. Something to make you an invalid in a wheel chair.”

The letter was sent with a return address of Mrs. Jackson’s sixth-grade class at Martin Luther King Middle School, and “We love you, Mr. Marshall” was written on the envelope. Marshall called that a cover to make sure he received the letter.

“My first reaction was, I was taken aback, actually,” Marshall said. “I had to read it over again. Did somebody really say this to me?’

“It said, ‘You’re a great player,’ so I had a smile on my face, and then ‘not.’ And I’m like, whoa. I actually let Shane [Ray] read it after I read it. … Disgusting, disheartening, deplorable — you can use a bunch of words for it.”

The Broncos’ security staff is investigating the letter.

“I’m not afraid. I turned it over to team security, and we’ll see what happens,” Marshall said. “It’s not going to spook me. It’s not going to make me move any different than I’ve moved. It’s definitely eye-opening.”

Coach Gary Kubiak said after practice Friday that the “organization is on top of it.”

Marshall responded to the letter in his Instagram post, saying, “The hatred by some against people of color is one of the reasons we are where we’re at in the world today, and they wonder why we feel the way we do and take the stances that we take. I received this letter at work.”

He said he has received an outpouring of support on Instagram since making his post.

“I just wanted to show that … to expose that racism still does exist,” Marshall said. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, it’s over; it’s not out there,’ but it really is.

“I wanted to expose that and that there are people like that and we still have a long way to go as people. I wanted to expose that people still hate each other … whether it’s because of your belief system or the color of your skin or just because I’m not like you, you’re not like me.”

Marshall took a knee during the national anthem before the Broncos’ first eight games this season as a response to social injustice, including several shootings of black people by police nationwide. He met with Denver’s police chief and has donated money for every tackle he has made this season to organizations that work with youth.

He said in November that he intended to stand for the anthem for the remainder of the season but would keep working for positive change.

The letter is the second known instance of an NFL player being targeted with racial abuse this week. On Tuesday, New York Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock reported a break-in during which burglars drew a swastika and “KKK,” as well as the word “Trump,” on walls inside his home.

Broncos claim Justin Forsett, place Kapri Bibbs on IR

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The minute the Denver Broncos put a walking boot on running back Kapri Bibbs’ left foot/ankle, the position became a question mark.

Which is why the Broncos moved quickly Monday to grab a player who already knows the playbook, or at least the bulk of the playbook. The Broncos claimed Justin Forsett off waivers from the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to be ready to play at least some by Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

Forsett played for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, as well as current Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, in Houston in 2012 and in Baltimore in 2014. Forsett had the best season of his career in ’14 with the Ravens when Kubiak was the team’s offensive coordinator — Forsett finished with 1,266 yards rushing, 44 receptions and eight touchdowns to earn the only Pro Bowl selection of his career.

To make room for Forsett, the Broncos moved Bibbs to injured reserve with a high ankle sprain, an injury that can take weeks to recover from, especially for a running back.

A little over an hour before Bibbs was moved to injured reserve, he had expressed at least some optimism he would recover quickly enough to get back on the field. The Broncos have four games remaining in the regular season before any potential playoff games.

“I had an MRI [Monday] — everything was stable, no bones or anything out of place,” Bibbs said.

Bibbs provided the Broncos’ offense with a spark in the 20-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. He had runs of 24 and 13 yards in the Denver offense’s only touchdown drive of the day.

Bibbs did not play in the second half after suffering the injury. His last carry of the game came with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the first half when he was tackled, for no gain, by Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.

“One of the defenders rolled up on it,” Bibbs said. “… Obviously I thought it was going to be a good game for me, but it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.”

Rookie running back Devontae Booker also was briefly out of the lineup after taking a hard hit — the officials actually sent Booker to the sideline to be evaluated — so for a time in the game the Broncos’ only available running back was Juwan Thompson.

The Broncos will evaluate Forsett’s conditioning, but the expectation is the 31-year-old will be ready to contribute. He appeared in three games for the Ravens this season — at 3.2 yards per carry — and played in two games for the Lions before he was waived this past week.

Kubiak called the Broncos’ depth at running back “a concern right now.”

The Broncos are 23rd in the league in rushing at 100.2 yards per game and 28th in the league in yards per carry at 3.6.

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Peyton Manning(Peyton Manning Jersey) is among the athletes cited in a lawsuit filed by a group of women alleging that the University of Tennessee has violated Title IX regulations and created a “hostile sexual environment” through a policy of indifference toward assaults by student-athletes.

The Tennessean first reported the lawsuit and Manning’s involvement.

The federal suit filed Tuesday in Nashville states Tennessee’s policies made students more vulnerable to sexual assault and had a “clearly unreasonable response” after incidents that caused the women making complaints to endure additional harassment. The suit also states the university interfered with the disciplinary process to favor male athletes.

The Tennessee lawsuit alleges that in 1996, when Manning was the Volunteers’ quarterback, he placed his naked genitals on the face of a female athletic trainer while she was examining him for an injury. Manning has denied that he assaulted the trainer, saying instead that he was “mooning” a teammate. Manning was never the subject of a police investigation in the incident.

The trainer, Dr. Jamie Naughright, later sued Manning. In documents filed on her behalf in the case, the player whom Manning says he was “mooning,” Malcolm Saxon, refuted Manning’s account. Naughright’s lawsuit against Manning was settled in 1997 with the agreement that she leave the university.

Manning later wrote an autobiography, “Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy,” in which he claimed that Naughright had a “vulgar” mouth and described her and his interactions with her at Tennessee in an unflattering light. In 2003, Naughright again sued Manning and his father, Archie Manning, ghost writer John Underwood and HarperCollins Publishers Inc. The Tennessee lawsuit references a USA Today article about the matter; however, on Saturday, the New York Daily News published a more detailed description of both of Naughright’s lawsuits, including her “facts of the case” filing in the 2003 defamation lawsuit.

There have been several sexual assault complaints made against Tennessee student-athletes over the past four years. The lawsuit against Tennessee names 10 players, including former football players Manning, A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams. The latter two were indicted on aggravated rape charges in February 2015 and have separate trial dates this summer.

The suit was filed by David Randolph Smith, a lawyer representing six unidentified plaintiffs, against the University of Tennessee and the director of the office of student conduct and community standards. No individuals were named as defendants in the complaint.

The suit also states that Tim Rogers, a former vice chancellor for student life, stepped down in 2013 “in protest over the violation of Title IX and the UT administration’s and athletic department’s deliberate indifference to the clear and present danger of sexual assaults by UT athletes.”

Bill Ramsey, a lawyer representing the school, said in a statement the university “acted lawfully and in good faith” in the situations outlined in the complaint. Ramsey said the school “has devoted significant time and energy to provide a safe environment for our students, to educate and raise awareness about sexual assault and to encourage students to come forward and report sexual assault.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights also launched an investigation into sexual violence at Tennessee on June 29. No further details of the investigation have been made public.

This suit comes two weeks after Florida State settled a Title IX lawsuit with former student Erica Kinsman, who said the school failed to adequately investigate allegations that she was raped by former Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston. The Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft has said the allegations are false and that he and Kinsman had consensual sex. No charges were ever filed against Winston, as prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to win a conviction and that there were gaps in Kinsman’s story.

Title IX is a federal statute that bans discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education warned schools in 2011 of their legal responsibilities to immediately investigate allegations of sexual assault, even if the criminal investigation has not concluded.

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday “nothing’s changed” in the team’s quarterback plan, so Brock Osweiler(Brock Osweiler Jersey) will prepare to start the Broncos’ regular-season finale Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

It will be Osweiler’s seventh consecutive start. Kubiak said he will also meet with Peyton Manning either Tuesday evening or Wednesday to talk about what level of participation Manning will have in the team’s practices this week.

Manning, who suffered a torn plantar fascia near his left heel in the Broncos’ Nov. 8 loss in Indianapolis, has practiced twice — on a limited basis on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 — since he was removed from the Broncos’ Nov. 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Asked Tuesday about what the plan was for Manning this week, Kubiak said, “[We'll] sit down and talk about that, but nothing’s changed. We’ll proceed just like we have.”

Kubiak had said “nothing’s changed” on the quarterback situation immediately after Monday night’s 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that officially clinched a playoff spot for the Broncos.

Osweiler is now 4-2 in his six starts, including overtime wins over New England and Cincinnati — two teams in the AFC’s playoff field — and he has completed 61 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

Asked after Monday’s game whether he believed he should remain the starter, Osweiler said:

“I’m not focused on that. … The focus moving forward will be San Diego and very quick. We’re coming onto a short week. We know that San Diego is going to give us their best shot. They have a lot of talented players. I’m not concerned with the quarterback situation. I’m going to show up whether I’m the starter or whether I’m the backup. I’m going to prepare the same exact way. I’m going to be the same exact guy in that building regardless of the situation. The focus needs to be on San Diego.”

Manning did not practice with the team last week but had four throwing sessions, including one on Sunday, that included members of the Broncos’ strength and conditioning staff as well as practice squad wide receiver Jordan Taylor.

“He was good. He worked really well last week,” Kubiak said Tuesday. “The week before we went a couple days and didn’t get through Friday. Last week we got through, actually four days when all was said and done because he worked some more Sunday. … He had four good days of work. We’ll sit down and talk about it and see where we go from there.”

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Peyton Manning(Peyton Manning Jersey)’s cast is off.

Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday that the cast came off, but the quarterback is still in a boot as he recovers from a plantar fascia injury.

The cast removal means Manning can now start rehabbing, but the quarterback said on Wednesday that he is week-to-week.

“I’d love for (the foot) to be healthy yesterday,” Manning said, per the team’s official Twitter feed. “(I’m) trying to get healthy before I come back.”

Kubiak stuck to his consistent stance that the team will wait until Manning is fully healed to make any decisions about the future of the quarterback position in Denver.

“We’re totally committed to getting (Manning) back. … Nothing has changed,” he said, via the team’s official Twitter feed.

Brock Osweiler’s play in his first two starts — winning in Chicago and beating the previously undefeated Patriots — ensures the Broncos will not rush back Manning, if he returns at all.