ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Tracy Porter wants to play. At this point, though, the Broncos cornerback knows it's his health, not his opinion, that counts.
Porter missed practice Friday and was still waiting to hear if doctors would clear him to play Sunday against his former team, the New Orleans Saints, after he experienced symptoms similar to those he felt before having a seizure earlier this year.
Porter wasn't allowed to fly to Denver's last game, at San Diego on Oct. 15, after he began experiencing light-headedness and a racing heart — similar to the symptoms he felt before his seizure in August.
"I want to play," Porter said in the locker room after practice Friday. "I've been out long enough with this. But the coaches, the training staff and the doctors are going to make a decision that's best for me. If they say I can't play, I've got to deal with it and look forward to playing next week. But if they say I can play, I'll be ready to play."
Coach John Fox said Porter's status was "day-to-day."
"It's nothing to mess around with, but I'm not going to deny him the right to play if he's healthy enough to play," Fox said.
Tony Carter and Chris Harris are the backups and both were listed as such on lineup cards printed by the team for Sunday's game.
Playing in place of Porter in the San Diego game, Carter returned a fumble for a touchdown and Harris took an interception for a score in a 35-24 win.
The Saints, with Drew Brees leading the league's top-ranked passing offense, figure to be as tough a challenge as the Denver secondary will face all season.
"We know there's going to be a lot of balls in the air, but when they do catch it, we have to make the tackle and line up for the next play," Harris said.
For his part, Porter said he'd like to be the man covering the receivers and making those tackles. The fifth-year veteran, who signed with Denver as a free agent before this season, was one of the stars for the Saints three years ago in the Super Bowl, when he picked off Peyton Manning's pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown while Manning was trying to guide the Colts to a tying touchdown.
This would be Porter's first game against his ex-teammates. He said the medical issues have not hindered him physically, even though he has not been cleared to practice.
"I've been preparing all week as if I'm playing — watching film, studying these guys," Porter said. "The only thing is, I wasn't physically out there at practice. Mentally, I'm ready to play, but if they say I'm not ready, then I'll just have to wait."