Broncos sign Jacob Hester; Ayers takes leave

As expected, the Broncos announced the signing today of  running back Jacob Hester, formerly of the Chargers. They also brought Jeremiah Johnson back to the practice squad, as had been reported over the weekend.

Hester (5-11, 235) is a fifth-year player out of LSU who was taken by San Diego with the 69th-overall pick in the 2008 Draft. He started 23 of the 62 games he played for the Chargers, accumulating 319 yards and one touchdown on 94 rushes, plus 308 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 55 catches.

A fullback during his time in San Diego, Denver is currently listing Hester as a running back, fourth on the depth chart at that position - behind Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Lance Ball.

Hester fills the roster spot made vacant by Willis McGahee's move to IR.

After measuring up to a healthy +7.1 as a rookie in 2008 according to PFF, Hester's grades fell off in his next three seasons (2009: -4.4; 2010: -0.1; 2011: -5.0), and he failed to make the Chargers out of camp this year.

The release and re-signing of Johnson to the practice squad was a procedural matter due to the back's three accrued years of NFL service time.

Meanwhile, defensive end Robert Ayers has taken leave from the Broncos following the sudden passing of his father; according to Lindsay Jones, it's unknown when Ayers will return to the team.

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Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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