Broncos Patriots Football Simmons

Broncos safety Justin Simmons returns an interception during the second half against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

Over a month ago, on April 13, the Broncos were the first in the NFL to publicly announce they would "be exercising (their) right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts." Soon after, many teams followed, as the NFL Players Association encouraged players to boycott offseason workouts. 

Still, many players have shown up, including the Broncos who had 82 of 90 players attend Phase III of organized team activities Monday. Two of those were kicker Brandon McManus and safety Justin Simmons, the Broncos' NFLPA player representatives.  

"No regret. I think the whole point of this was players knowing that it was their right to exercise voluntary workouts and they're just that (voluntary)," Simmons said. "Now, I also said — I think it was a question last year, not really sure who asked it — but someone asked me what my opinion was on OTAs and things like that and I said I think there's some value in OTAs."

Simmons explained that there are different layers to OTAs, with Phase I and II being mostly individual work — which many players like to do on their own — and Phase III actually being beneficial. Phase III began Monday, with Simmons skipping the first two phases. 

"I feel like there's a lot of value going into Phase III, which is why towards the latter part of OTAs, talking about Phase III, a lot of guys were there," Simmons said. "I find a lot of value in Phase III because it's football. We're out there 11-on-11, 7-on-7, we're working through problems and details together."

Simmons said there were a lot of discussions among teammates and coaches about attending, and part of that was the players asking for no team periods in the first six practices of Phase III. And if they needed more motivation to show up, season-ending injuries away from the facility to Ja'Wuan James and DaeSean Hamilton likely gave them that extra push.

But more than anything, Simmons said they know they need to work, after missing the playoffs the last five seasons. 

"We realized what our record has been the past couple of years," Simmons said. "Ultimately, the goal is to win football games when the season starts and the season starts now." 

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