ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (torn Achilles) continued his quest Wednesday to start the team’s regular-season opener Sept. 9 against the .

For the first time since his surgery to repair the injury, which he suffered Dec. 5 in practice, Sanders took part in a 7-on-7 passing drill in training camp. Sanders was with the offense for a handful of plays. To this point in training camp, he had only participated in the wide receivers’ individual drills when practice started and had been held out of everything else.

Sanders was also held out of the team’s offseason program.

“It felt good out there,” Sanders said after Wednesday’s workout. “Felt good to be back, at least back to what I’m doing.”

The Broncos completed their first week of training camp and the players had their first day off on Wednesday. Broncos coach Vic Fangio said the Broncos had decided to give Sanders a bit more work despite the day off. Fangio said they will now gradually work Sanders into more drills.

“That was the plan,” Fangio said. “…Hopefully, slowly doing more and more.”

Sanders, especially after the Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans last October, was such a prominent figure in the team’s passing game, he led the team in catches last season, with 71 (29 more than the next player), receiving yards (868) and tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (four) though he did not play in the final four games.

He made a bit of an entrance given his first reception in drills Wednesday was a diving catch.

“I kept telling the guys if I have to dive I don’t know,” Sanders said. “…When I caught it I said ‘I’m back, baby.’ It felt good.”

He has consistently said, throughout the offseason, he expects to be ready for the season opener.

“We have plenty of time, Week 1 is the most important thing,” Sanders said. “…I do want to get back out there … at the same time, it’s a process and I’ve got to respect that process.”

The Broncos are a little thin at wide receiver at the moment given Sanders’ limited participation, rookie Juwann Winfree has been held out of practice with a lower leg injury and DaeSean Hamilton was pulled out of Wednesday’s practice after, Fangio said, “he tweaked his hamstring.”