Former Broncos T Mike Current was found dead this morning at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Denver selected Current in the third round (58th overall) of the 1967 Draft out of Ohio State; he went on to play in 169 NFL games in 13 seasons, spending nine of those years with the Broncos. He made the Pro Bowl as a Bronco in 1969, and he also played for the Dolphins and Buccaneers.
Current, who was 66, had become an author in his post-playing days, and he wrote a memoir of his career titled Rememberin'...Life in the Trenches. Our thoughts at IAOFM go out to Current's family and friends. (via DP)
Update 7:26am ET 1/18/12: It appears society will not be missing Current - he had been accused recently of sexually assaulting several children.
Former Broncos owner Edgar Kaiser died on Wednesday at the age of 69 while in Toronto. Kaiser originally purchased the team from the Phipps family in 1981 for roughly $30M before selling it to current owner Pat Bowlen in 1984 for $65M. Although Kaiser only owned the Broncos for three years, it was a remarkably impactful tenure; in 1981 he hired Dan Reeves, and in 1983 he pulled off the unthinkable in acquiring John Elway from the Colts.
But in 1999, Kaiser filed a lawsuit against Bowlen in an attempt to repurchase part of the team and claiming the latter had violated the terms of their sale agreement. A jury sided with Kaiser in 2004, but the Colorado Court of Appeals agreed with a Denver district judge's ruling which had sided with Bowlen.
With Lonie Paxton ruled out for tomorrow's game, the Broncos have signed veteran long snapper David Binn, formerly of the Chargers. Binn, who turns 40 next month, spent all of his 17 seasons in San Diego and is the Chargers' all-time leader in games played at 256; San Diego released him prior to the 2011 regular season. To create room for Binn on the roster, Denver waived FB Austin Sylvester, who had been promoted from the practice squad three weeks ago but failed to see action with the team.
It turns out the Broncos will be without LS Lonie Paxton tomorrow for their divisional playoff game against New England. Word had been that despite missing practice this week due to personal reasons, Paxton would be present tomorrow. Denver doesn't list a backup long snapper on its depth chart, but Arnie Stapleton says Russ Hochstein is likely to fill in for Paxton. According to PFW, the Broncos worked out two long snappers yesterday: Jason Kyle and Andrew Schulze.
I was going to insert a spy joke here, but obviously something rather serious is going on in his life. Whatever Lonie's dealing with, our thoughts go out to him and his family.
Adam Schefter is reporting that the Raiders have fired coach Hue Jackson after just one season. Speculation had grown in recent days that new Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie was considering bringing in a handpicked head coach. It's certainly understandable, especially considering the exceptional amount of power Jackson had wielded in recent months.
Jackson had become the de facto GM following the death of Al Davis, and it had been Jackson's curious decision to trade away two high picks for QB Carson Palmer. Under McKenzie, Jackson would have been taking a step backwards within the organization (even if it was called for), and of course the new GM has his own legacy to forge with the organization. Why do so with a coach who outranks you in terms of seniority, and who just got used to calling all the shots?
The Broncos have placed FB Spencer Larsen on IR; Larsen injured his knee against KC in Week 17 and along with FB Austin Sylvester did not dress for Sunday's victory over Pittsburgh. To take Larsen's roster spot and play Saturday should Eric Decker's own knee injury keep him out, the Broncos promoted rookie D'Andre Goodwin from the practice squad.
Denver also added WR Tim Toone to the PS to take the spot vacated by Goodwin's promotion. Toone was 2010's Mr. Irrelevant, as the Lions selected him with the final pick in that year's draft; he most recently was a member of the Bills. He also happens to have a head of hair which makes him look like Michael Bolton, except for the dreadlocks.
A few post-Lard news bits:
Granted, this is something more akin to a 'runner-up' designation, but Von Miller has been named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Miller was beaten out by Terrell Suggs and DeMarcus Ware for first-team honors. Miller has already been named a Pro Bowler, along with fellow defenders Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey. Here is the complete All-Pro roster, plus the associated story on the All-Pro team.
Bailey, Dumervil, Chris Kuper, Britton Colquitt and Matt Prater also received votes.
The Broncos will again be without Brian Dawkins on Sunday, which means Denver is likely to again have Quinton Carter and David Bruton manning the starting safety spots. In slightly better news, FB Spencer Larsen is listed as doubtful after it was said earlier in the week that he would definitely miss the game due to his knee sprain. Bruton and dime corner Jonathan Wilhite are questionable, while Von Miller and Eddie Royal are probable for Sunday.
For Pittsburgh, CB Cortez Allen and RB Mewelde Moore are out as expected (S Ryan Clark is out as well but not on the injury report, presumably because his absence is a coaching decision), while C Maurkice Pouncey is listed as questionable after being limited in practice, despite earlier reports that he will miss the game. Several key Steelers are probable, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, G Doug Legursky (who would start at center if Pouncey cannot), LB James Harrison, LB LaMarr Woodley, DE Brett Keisel, S Troy Polamalu and T Jonathan Scott.
It looks like Josh McDaniels will be interviewing to get his old job back. No, not that one. With Patriots OC Bill O'Brien reportedly heading to Penn State to take over their HC gig, McDaniels received permission from the Rams (who fired HC Steve Spagnuolo earlier in the week) to seek out a new position for himself, and the Pats have subsequently sought the Rams' approval to chat with their former assistant. It'll be interesting to see which way McDaniels goes should he have a choice between going back to New England and joining Scott Pioli and possibly Romeo Crennel in KC.