Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe turns 44 today, which also happens to be the retired number of fellow Broncos HOFer Floyd Little. Happy Birthday, Shay!
A U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by D.J. Williams against the league, meaning the Broncos linebacker will likely serve a six-game suspension for having violated the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.
The league had accused Williams and former teammate Ryan McBean of submitting non-human urine samples for steroid testing, but the two players had already lost their appeals with the commissioner's office by the time their suspensions were announced in March. Both McBean and Williams had received six-game penalties; McBean settled for a three-game ban and dropped his own lawsuit against the league, but Williams was apparently not offered the same deal.
The number of retired players suing the NFL for its handling of head injuries has grown almost daily, to the point where there are now 90 lawsuits pending on behalf of 2,397 league alumni. Until now, it's been a bit difficult to keep track of the ex-Broncos among those seeking damages.
But thanks to the Washington Times, we now have a convenient and sortable table to track the plaintiffs. Among them are 154 former Broncos, including players from all five decades of the team's existence prior to the current one.
The cynical view suggests that some of these players are suing for financial gain. But there are far too many names, some of great fame and magnitude, for this to be solely about a money grab.
Ty Warren has ended his unofficial holdout and joined the team for today's OTAs. Denver had sought to cut the veteran defensive tackle's salary from a contracted $4M down to $1M-1.5M according to earlier reports.
The former Texas A&M Aggie and first-round pick of the Patriots spent eight seasons with New England before signing a two-year, $8M free-agent deal with the Broncos last August. But a torn triceps muscle suffered during training camp caused him to miss the season; a hip injury had cost Warren his 2010 season.
Giants RB Andre Brown won his appeal and will not have to serve the four-game suspension he had been hit with in March. He had originally been found to have violated the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
But Brown, who spent part of the 2010 season with the Broncos, says the suspension had resulted from a clerical error regarding his prescription for the ADHD medication Adderall.
Texans punter Brett Hartmann had also been suspended four games for ADHD meds and won his appeal last week. Unlike Brown, Hartmann must serve a reduced three-game suspension instead.
Updated 4:29 pm ET
The Broncos announced the signing of center/guard Philip Blake today. Denver selected Blake with their second pick in the fourth round of April's draft, and he is the fifth draft choice to sign. Only QB Brock Osweiler and RB Ronnie Hillman remain unsigned.
According to Mike Klis, director of personnel Matt Russell was responsible for the deal, meaning the former CU Buff has essentially assumed the job of recently fired GM Brian Xanders, in addition to his own duties running the scouting department.
Chris is the middle of the NFL's three Gronkowski brothers; older brother Dan, currently a TE for the Cleveland Browns, was acquired by Denver in a trade for notorious Josh McDaniels draftee Alphonso Smith. Rob, the youngest and best of the trio, announced his presence as the NFL's preeminent TE in 2011 before going on to dominate the offseason as well.
Updated 3:04 pm ET
The Broncos announced the signing of sixth-round choice Danny Trevathan today. Denver selected the former Kentucky linebacker 188th overall in the 2012 Draft, and he is the third draftee to sign with the team, joining Omar Bolden and Malik Jackson. Derek Wolfe agreed to terms but has not yet signed his contract.
Three players have yet to agree to terms: Brock Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman, and Philip Blake. Today marks the second day of Denver's initial 2012 OTA.
Updated 1:32pm ET
Per the official Twitter page of the Denver Broncos:
The Broncos have signed DE Malik Jackson, the second 2012 draft pick to sign with the team.
So that's two down and five to go. A day before, the Broncos took care of Omar Bolden--not in a Sopranos way, mind you, but in a hey, rookie, you can carry these sweaty jockstraps to the laundry room now way.
Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has announced that legendary WR Rod Smith will become the next member of the team's Ring of Fame. Said Mr. B in a statement:
Players like Rod don’t come through your door very often, but he came through ours every day with a purpose and hunger to be great. Rod’s production and numbers -- as outstanding as they were -- paled in comparison to his commitment to winning and the respect he commanded from each and every one of his teammates throughout his career. Emerging from an undrafted player to one of the best to ever play his position, Rod has truly earned his place among the greatest Broncos of all time.
I am thankful for everything Rod contributed to this franchise during his time with the Broncos, and I congratulate him on his well-deserved election to the Ring of Fame.
Smith, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri Southern State in 1994, was a Bronco for 12 seasons, setting regular and postseason franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and TD catches. His numbers also rank as the best in league history for an undrafted receiver.
Updated 7:49 pm ET