Marcus Thomas thinks he might have talked good friend Jarvis Moss into returning to the Denver Broncos rather than retiring.
Thomas, who went to Florida with Moss and was in the same 2007 draft class, said he spoke with Moss on Sunday morning, a day after he left camp to ponder his future.
"I think he's going to turn around and come back soon," Thomas said. "He just wanted to prove to everybody that he's good. He's looking up now, so he's going to be back."
Moss, who turns 25 on Monday, has slipped down the depth chart this season as he transitions from a pass rusher into an outside linebacker in the Broncos' new 3-4 defense.
When training camp opened Friday, Moss praised the new scheme, saying "it's a brand new start for me."
The next day, he was gone.
So may be some of his money if Moss chooses to retire now.
Moss signed a nearly $15 million, five-year contract as the 17th overall pick in '07, but the Broncos could try to recoup $3.6 million of his signing bonus.
If Moss returns to the team and is cut -- a distinct possibility -- he would owe them nothing.
Moss has not returned messages from The Associated Press since leaving training camp.
While Moss is currently running fifth on the depth chart at outside linebacker, he will surely drop even more once first-round draft pick Robert Ayers ends his holdout.
That Moss bolted from camp came as a surprise to Tim Crowder, a defensive end out of Texas who's also making the switch from down lineman to outside linebacker.
"It's a good friend, but you never know what guys are thinking sometimes," said Crowder, who was taken in the second round in '07. "He was doing a great job. He had a really, really good first day of practice, so that's why it was shocking to everyone. We can just kind of hold our breath on the situation and go from there."
Coach Josh McDaniels called the matter a personal situation and didn't want to address it Sunday.
"When he's back, then hopefully we'll move forward," he said.
Moss has struggled to fit into the NFL ever since former coach Mike Shanahan moved up in the draft to select him, recording just 3 1/2 sacks in 18 career games.
He played in six games as a rookie before fracturing his right leg. Last season, Moss suited up in 12 games and had 25 tackles.
While at Florida, Moss almost gave up on football after missing time because of a mysterious pain in his lower abdomen that made it nearly impossible to work out.
Finally, a biopsy revealed an infection on his pelvic bone. After weeks of intravenous antibiotics, he started feeling more like himself. Moss helped the Gators to a national title in 2006, turning in two sacks and forcing a fumble in a win over Ohio State.
"I feel like he's been going through a lot ever since college," Thomas said. "He went through all that adversity and I feel this little bit right here shouldn't affect him."
In his conversation with Moss, Thomas said he just spelled it out for his friend.
"I was putting in his head how he's going to feel in the long run," Thomas said. "Nobody wants to be sitting there watching everybody playing ... He's going to be back. I'm just going to be there to support him no matter what he does, though."
TAKE A LAP: For the second straight day, a quarterback and center had to take a lap around the field for botching the exchange.
This time, it was backup Chris Simms and 36-year-old veteran snapper Casey Wiegmann.
"I feel bad for Casey because he's almost 50," Simms said, smiling. "It's not fair to make him run."
Simms thinks the punishment does fit the crime, and he's learned his lesson.
"It's kind of embarrassing when you have to run laps, especially when you're like four feet from the fans," he said. "Some razz me."
"They're killing my Texas Longhorns," Simms said. "But that's all right."
ROYAL FLUSH: With two defenders draped all over him, wideout Eddie Royal made quite the catch on a deep pass from Kyle Orton.
True to form, he downplayed the difficulty.
"Tried to look it in and come down with the ball," Royal said.
Last season, Royal set team rookie records in receptions (91), yards receiving (980) and receiving touchdowns (five).
But that was with Jay Cutler, who was dealt to the Chicago Bears in the offseason.
However, he's quickly developing a rapport with Orton.
"It's coming along good," Royal said. "Started off well in minicamps and we've just picked it up from there. We continue to grow and get better each day."
FIRST DOWNS: McDaniels said the knee injury of defensive lineman Nic Clemons on Saturday wasn't serious and he could be back on the field soon. ... Although rookies Knowshon Moreno and Ayers remain holdouts, McDaniels said he's not frustrated with the process. "Hopefully it's done very soon and when it's done we'll look forward to getting (them) in here and trying to play catch-up," McDaniels said.
(Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved)
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