Sean Payton expecting robust Denver contingent Sunday in Los Angeles: “It’s nice when you have fans who travel like we do”

The first game Sean Payton actually attended at SoFi Stadium was last year during his time working for Fox.

Coincidentally, it came in Week 6 when the Broncos visited the Los Angeles Chargers.

It’s a palace. A $5 billion crown jewel for Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

But Payton said he came away surprised at one factor: The relatively large number of Broncos fans in attendance.

“It was just a coincidence,” Payton said of his attendance at that game. “I was surprised — I don’t want to say it’s a newer fan base because it’s not, but they haven’t had a team in a while. There’s a number of things you can’t control.”

Denver figures to have a strong contingent there again this weekend when the teams meet for the first time this season. The Broncos had similar last year in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, among other places. They also had a strong presence Sunday at Houston.

In the end, of course, the Broncos still fell to the Texans. But Payton said the orange and blue was easy to notice.

“It’s nice when you have fans who travel like we do,” he said. “That’s something. Even last week in Houston. When we’ve gone on the road this year you’ve always felt a presence with our fan base. And certainly that’ll matter again Sunday. That’s nice to have.”

Bolles on award. Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles said he didn’t know how to react when he found out he was the organization’s 2023 nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Bolles for years has worked with kids in the area, particularly in the juvenile justice program.

“I was speechless, to be honest with you,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t do this just to look at me. I do this because I genuinely care and I love for these kids. These kids have taught me so much about myself. They probably say that I help them, but they’ve helped me just as much.”

As Denver’s nominee, Bolles is set to receive up to $55,000 to the charity of his choice. A fan vote on social media can add up to another $35,000 to that total. The winner of the NFL’s award, announced around the Super Bowl, gets $250,000 to the charity of his choice.

“Garett is a tremendous example for our community and our team, this city and, really, for the national football league,” said quarterback Russell Wilson, who won the NFL award in 2020. “Hopefully he wins the whole national man of the year award. That would be remarkable. There’s a lot of guys that are very deserving, but there’s nobody better than him.”

Key players limited. The Broncos are still a very healthy team, though they had a few extra players on their Wednesday injury report compared to recent weeks.

Even still, every active player participated in some capacity.

All-Pro cornerback Pat Surtain II missed nine snaps Sunday with a knee issue and was limited Wednesday. Other players limited included defensive end Zach Allen (elbow), right tackle Mike McGlinchey (back), receiver Marvin Mims, Jr. (ribs) and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (back).

After stretching, Turner-Yell had a long conversation with the training staff and was held back while the rest of the team began individual work.

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