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Flacco posters rile up Denver

DENVER — Joe Flacco looms larger than life in Denver and not just because he led the Ravens' upset of the Broncos in the playoffs last season.

The NFL's marketing campaign for next week's kickoff game between the teams features large banners of Flacco on downtown lamp posts — and Sports Authority Field alongside one of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

That has drawn an angry reaction from Broncos fans. One local sportscaster drew a mustache on a Flacco poster and covered another with tape.

"We respect the fans' passion and enthusiasm," said Brian McCarthy, vice president of corporate communications. "It's a tremendous matchup but built around it is some of our activities that you would see at a Super Bowl or … an international game where you promote both teams."

McCarthy noted in 2007 there were banners of Saints running back Reggie Bush and Manning, then with the Colts, in Indianapolis. Last year, New York subway lines were named for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. And in 2011, banners of Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hung near Lambeau Field.

The difference is, this is the first time a banner of a player hangs on the opposing team's stadium.

Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe said he prefers the banners be left alone and the Broncos defense worry about taking down Flacco.

"We'll take care of that," he said. "You (fans) just come to the game."

RG3 reportedly ready: Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will be medically cleared to start the season opener, espn.com reported. Griffin had offseason reconstructive surgery on his left knee. He is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews tonight, but his approval is a formality, espn.com reported.

Bears: Receiver Brandon Marshall was given a four-day excused absence for personal reasons. The team didn't disclose details but said it did not relate to the former UCF standout's recovery from offseason hip surgery.

Bills: Quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis, both acquired Sunday, will get the majority of snaps tonight against the Lions. With former FSU standout EJ Manuel (left knee surgery) and Kevin Kolb (concussion) out, the team is wary of losing Jeff Tuel, an undrafted rookie who is the only other quarterback familiar with the playbook.

49ers: Colt McCoy restructured his deal and is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback. Seneca Wallace and former USF Bull B.J. Daniels remain on the roster.

Jaguars: Corner and kick returner Will Blackmon signed. The six-year veteran was out of the league in 2012.

Jets: Matt Simms will start at quarterback tonight against the Eagles. Simms, brother of ex-Bucs quarterback Chris and son of ex-Giants quarterback Phil, went undrafted in 2012 and was not in the league. Mark Sanchez remains day to day with a shoulder injury. Rookie Geno Smith will be rested, and Greg McElroy aggravated a sprained knee during practice Tuesday. The club did sign Graham Harrell, Aaron Rodgers' backup in Green Bay for the past three seasons.

Seahawks: Former Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett missed practice with an injured toe and will sit out tonight against the Raiders. But he's expected to be ready for the season opener.

Curry retires: Linebacker Aaron Curry said via Twitter he is retiring. Seattle drafted Curry fourth overall in 2009. It traded him to Oakland for a seventh-round pick in 2011. Curry spent 2012 there and was cut by the Giants on Sunday.

Flacco posters rile up Denver 08/28/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 29, 2013 1:05am]

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