Aqib Talib returns to practice before Broncos’ bye week

Before bolting on a five-day furlough, Aqib Talib returned to practice for the first time since Oct. 28.

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) carries the ball for a touchdown after an interception during fourth quarter action against the Indianapolis Colts during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO, September 18, 2016.
Photo by Gabriel Christus
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) carries the ball for a touchdown after an interception during fourth quarter action against the Indianapolis Colts during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO, September 18, 2016. Photo by Gabriel Christus
Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) carries the ball for a touchdown after an interception during fourth quarter action against the Indianapolis Colts during the game at Mile High on September 18. (Photo by Gabriel Christus)

By Arnie Stapleton, AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Before bolting on a five-day furlough, Aqib Talib returned to practice for the first time since Oct. 28. The star cornerback has missed Denver’s last two games with a sore lower back for which he received a cortisone injection two weeks ago.

“He’s feeling good. The injection was a successful thing that they did. And I know how excited he is about the last six weeks,” coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday. “So, it’s good to see him get some work in and we’ll pick it up again next week.”

The Broncos (7-3) get the next five days off. Their next game is Nov. 27 against Kansas City (7-2), a game that was flexed into the Sunday night prime time slot.

Talib vowed Sunday that he’d be back on the field for that showdown against the Chiefs.

Talib brings a spark to both the lineup and the locker room that will come in handy down the stretch for the Broncos, who face the Chiefs twice, Oakland and New England in their homestretch.

“It’s attitude,” Kubiak said. “He’s such a positive, playmaking, energy guy. And Aqib is a loud guy, we all know that, his personality. But it’s all about football when he’s out here. He’s very bright. So, yeah, we missed him and it’s great to have him back and just to know that he’s feeling well.”

GM John Elway said Tuesday he’s pleased with the team’s record and also expects the Broncos to go on another post-bye roll.

“I think we would take it if you said at Week 10 we’d be 7-3 with what’s happened. We haven’t played our best football yet, which I think is the encouraging thing,” Elway said during an appearance at his steakhouse where he accepted the USGA’s offer to serve as honorary chairman of the 2018 U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs.

Talib’s return will allow fellow star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to go back to playing the slot, his specialty.

The Broncos sorely missed Talib in a 30-20 loss at Oakland but rallied Sunday against the Saints, winning 25-23 behind four takeaways from their “No Fly Zone” secondary, including three by safety Darian Stewart.

Kubiak got to know Stewart during his one season in Baltimore in 2014 and Stewart followed Kubiak to Denver last year.

“When you’re a coach and you go to a new organization and you stand up for somebody, you sure as hell hope you’re right,” Kubiak said. “And I told John (Elway) I thought he’d fit in. He’s a good kid, loves to play and boy, just watching him every day has been fun to see.”