DENVER — When the Seattle Seahawks visit the Broncos for a preseason kickoff Thursday night, they’ll see a Denver defense that was reshaped with them in mind — along with a team still smarting over all that trash talk during and after the Super Bowl.
The Broncos responded to that 43-8 shellacking by adding thumpers DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib in free agency.
Bruised leg permitting, Ware will make a cameo appearance in what promises to be an intense start to the preseason at Sports Authority Field before the starters give way to backups for the bulk of the night.
Hoyer, not Manziel, to open preseason
BEREA, Ohio — Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer will start the exhibition opener in Detroit, giving him the first chance to impress before rookie Johnny Manziel takes the field.
Coach Mike Pettine said Hoyer has “done nothing” to have his starting job taken away during training camp.
Pettine said Manziel could get some playing time with Cleveland’s starters against the Lions on Saturday night.
Hoyer said he got a brief scare on Tuesday when his surgically repaired right knee got hit during practice. But Hoyer said the knee held up fine and that he “can’t afford” to take any time off in camp as he tries to hold off Manziel.
Cardinals TE Ballard to retire
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard has announced his retirement from the NFL.
Ballard says in a statement that his body never has felt the same since he sustained a severe knee injury while playing for the New York Giants in the 2012 Super Bowl.
Ballard was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Ohio State in 2010. In the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl season, he started 13 regular season games, catching 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He was signed by New England in 2012, but missed the entire season because of the knee injury.
Ballard signed with the Cardinals in November of last year. He appeared in eight games for Arizona, three as a starter.
Tebow embracing analyst job
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tim Tebow still wants — and trains for — another NFL opportunity.
Still, while the 26-year-old free agent quarterback waits for the call to play professional football again, he isn’t about to let a potential dream job pass him by.
Tebow says he’s embracing his latest passion: working as a football analyst for ESPN’s new SEC Network, which debuts Aug. 14.
An enthusiastic Tebow told The Associated Press on Wednesday, “I love talking football and I love being around it.”
Tebow says his agent has fielded some calls from interested NFL teams — he declined to name which teams — but added no deal is imminent.
McNabb to call some NFL games for Fox
NEW YORK — Retired quarterback Donovan McNabb will call some NFL games for Fox this season.
McNabb will rotate with former NFL and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn and longtime linebacker Kirk Morrison as a color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton.
By wire sources