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Super Bowl XLVIII: Broncos itching to hit the road

The SportsXchange

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos finished up three days of work at their team headquarters on Saturday, and it is clear that no matter how many times players insist Super Bowl XLVIII is a "business trip," they can't wait to arrive in New York on Sunday.

"It's drawing near," linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "We've been working hard and we're just ready to get to New York. It's an exciting feeling that everybody can't wait to get there and just be in the moment."

Woodyard's playing time has decreased, but his role as a team captain remains an important part of the Broncos' preparation to deal with the distractions inherent with playing in the Super Bowl. Coaches and players talk about maintaining their "routine," but there is nothing routine about the annual Media Day on Tuesday or the throngs of media that attend the daily press sessions.

"Our leadership group - that's something that's key for everybody," said Woodyard. "Enjoy the moment of New York, be there, enjoy the Super Bowl, but we are there for a purpose, and that's winning a football game. I think everybody understands that."

Head coach John Fox's word of the week has been "focus." Priority No. 1 for his team is to stay focused and stay on top of the job at hand.

"I think you want guys to enjoy it and be with their families," Fox said. "You don't want to go there and be miserable all week and miserable with your family. It's a fine line. They understand it. Enjoy your family, but it's not Spring Break."

Former Broncos safety Brian Dawkins visited the team on Friday, and spoke to the team about preparing for the biggest game of their lives. Quarterback Peyton Manning is one of a handful of Broncos who do own a Super Bowl ring, and he has also been a mentor for the vast majority of Denver players who have never played on the NFL's biggest stage.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I know we're going," said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. "The main thing with me as a player is that I want to go and win the game. That's all I've really been thinking about. I'm happy to play in it, but I want to win the game. I feel like once we get there it will sink in even more."

As excited as the Broncos are to finally get on the plane, another long week stands between them and playing the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.

"Like Peyton said, just do your normal routine," said Thomas. "If you stay in the house and watch film or go out and eat dinner, do the same thing. I'm going to do my normal routine like he said and I think I'll be fine."

While keeping a routine is a nice goal, the reality is the worldwide media will be waiting for the Broncos when they touch down Sunday.

"A lot more cameras than usual as far as watching you come off the plane," acknowledged Fox. "I think you want to do your best to make sure you're appropriate in what you're doing because odds are its going to be on camera."

--PK Matt Prater was sent home from the team's facility with an illness, but Fox fully anticipates Prater to be healthy in time for the Super Bowl and isn't concerned about the illness spreading throughout the locker room.

"It's happened all season, it happens to every team in the league," Fox said of the illness. "Guys do get sick just like any households in America. We feel confident he'll be fine shortly."
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