Training camp is a grind.

That’s why a number of Denver Broncos veterans had a built-in day off on Thursday, which was also marked the halfway point of training camp.

The seventh day of training camp (eighth if you count the off day Tuesday) saw the likes of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, tight end Virgil Green, defensive lineman Domata Peko, safety T.J. Ward, and cornerback Aqib Talib out of pads and observing Thursday’s morning session.

While players like Jamaal Charles have already had planned rest days, this was the first true built-in vet day of training camp, head coach Vance Joseph said.

“It was our first vet day,” Joseph said after practice on Thursday. “It was scheduled. This was a tough week. We’ve had pads on for the last three days. I’m just being smart with our veteran players who we know more about. We can rest those guys.”

While the players mentioned above got a break, Friday’s practice will mean a day off for most of the rest of the veteran players so that everyone is fresh and ready to go for the first scrimmage of the season on Saturday.

“We’re going to rest the other half tomorrow. We didn’t want to do the entire group in one day. We split them in two groups. Tomorrow you’re going to see [WR Emmanuel] Sanders, [OLB] Von [Miller], [DE Derek] Wolfe and [ILB Brandon] Marshall resting. They’ll be out tomorrow. Everyone is up for the scrimmage on Saturday.”

After four days in full pads, the grueling training camp days can take their toll. While the more established veterans will enjoy these days off, some of the other veterans on the team fighting for a roster spot don’t get that luxury.

Sometimes you have to love it in order to make it through.

“I like it,” third-year wide receiver Bennie Fowler said after Thursday’s practice. “It makes it more game-like. It’s the grind; it’s camp. It makes you mentally tough, so I appreciate it.”

While four days in pads may feel like a game to Fowler, he and the Broncos will get their first true taste of a game exactly one week from Thursday when they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in their first preseason game of 2017.