DENVER -- Last week, the Dallas Cowboys felt the impact of NaVorro Bowman's return to football. Now the Denver Broncos offense has seen No. 53 back in action as well.
Bowman was all over the field on Wednesday in Denver for the first of two joint practices with the Broncos. In addition to rushing the passer, the linebacker was in coverage guarding everyone from running backs to Damaryius Thomas.
Following the session, future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning discussed the importance of practicing against another team, and noted Bowman as one of the players the Broncos had to account for.
"They have an excellent defense, guys like NaVorro Bowman, great guys to work against for our tight ends and running backs," Manning said. "Their defensive coordinator has been around for a long time in coach (Eric) Mangini. I thought it was good work today. It will be good work tomorrow and can help us be a better team."
Manning went even further when asked a follow-up question regarding the linebacker. The praise was lofty and the admiration was evident from the Broncos quarterback.
"Obviously he played a little against Dallas last week and he looked good in his limited time there," Manning said. "He's an outstanding football player that has overcome a serious injury, and I have a lot of respect for him being out there. There's a lot of physical challenges overcoming that kind of injury.
"I can only imagine how much work he's put in to get back out there. I always pull for guys when they get injured to come back; Guys who put that time in to work hard and rehab and get back out there. I wish him the best."
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had similar kind words about the linebacker. Kubiak is well known as an offensive-minded coach. He'd previously held the offensive coordinator position in Denver from 1995-2005 and most recently held the same title with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.
Kubiak has implemented his system with the Broncos and said that going against the 49ers defense will help them progress as an offense. Bowman, in particular, was a player who stood out to him on Wednesday.
"Oh yeah, I saw a lot," Kubiak said. "Obviously I've known about him for years and he's a great player. He made a lot of plays in there today. I'm glad to see he's healthy and back."