Fare thee well, Keith Burns Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's unfortunately time to bid adieu to a longtime friend - Keith Burns, who's spent 18 of his 20 NFL seasons with the Broncos.

At least he's reconvening with an old friend, as he's heading to Washington to coordinate Mike Shanahan's special teams.

Burnsy first joined the Broncos as a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 1994, and he anchored their special teams unit for 11 of the next 13 seasons, with one-year stints with Chicago (1999) and Tampa Bay (2004) sprinkled in between.

The 40-year-old South Carolina native was a part of both of Denver's SB-winning teams, and upon his retirement, he jumped right into coaching, as a ST assistant on Shanny's 2007 squad.

After seven seasons as a Denver assistant, Burns has earned his first big promotion, one he was not going to get with the Broncos, given that they have a top young coordinator in Jay Rodgers.

In one of the better Burns-related stories, Shannon Sharpe once bet that the linebacker couldn't get his body fat content below 10%. Burnsy got it done, and it's unclear whether Shay ever paid up. I vaguely recall him having done so, but I just wasted ten minutes searching for that fact and failed.

Congratulations, Burnsy, thanks for 18 great years, and best of luck in Washington.

Links: PFR player profile; official site bio; Burns discusses his memories of SB 32

Broncos

Jeff Legwold revisits a debate I've had with TJ roughly 50 times - why the Broncos drafted Brock Osweiler over Russell Wilson (whom TJ preferred all along).

USA Today's Pete O'Brien has Ronnie Hillman on his short list of players he expects will have breakout seasons in 2013.

Old friend Lonie Paxton has taken on videography in his NFL retirement, and it's too bad nobody spells his name correctly (Lonie, not Lonnie), just like Brandon Stokley (not Stokely).

Stuart Zaas recaps the third quarter of Denver's 2012 season for the official site.

News

Turns out Michael Vick's renegotiated contract with the Eagles is really a three-year deal, and is far from a guarantee that he'll stick with the team this season. Mike Tanier expects Vick will fare okay and land a starting gig elsewhere in 2014, and that Chip Kelly will handpick a quarterback of the future in April.

Buffalo cut safety George Wilson and LB Nick Barnett; Wilson graded out as the eighth best safety in football according to PFF, while Barnett was their ninth best 4-3 outside linebacker.

Minnesota signed star CFL CB Roderick Williams; word now is that WR Percy Harvin plans to hold out with one year and $2.9M remaining on his contract; Will Brinson thinks there are several teams that make more sense as potential suitors than do the Broncos.

The Chiefs scheduled a visit with free agent DT Chris Canty and added WR Mardy Gilyard, TE Kevin Brock, and DE Marcus Dixon, all of whom had been backups with other teams.

There's speculation that the Falcons could cut CB Dunta Robinson, and that the Browns may be the likeliest destination for Steelers WR Mike Wallace.

De Smith says the players union's concerns regarding the competence of Chargers team doctor David Chao have not subsided.

Analysis

Doug Farrar provides notes on each of his top 32 (1-16, 17-32) prospects for the 2013 Draft; Bucky Brooks lists the ten prospects he thinks have the most to prove at the Combine; here's the latest schedule of pro days.

Chase Stuart continues his study of wideouts through the prism of how often they were targeted and the passing efficiency of their respective teams.

Here are the results for FO's annual awards as voted on by their readers.

Skip this section if the existence of gay people and the potential omission of racist slurs from the American lexicon are destroying your quality of life

Nodody knows who thought it a good idea to defend the RacistSlurs name by highlighting the high school teams that share the pejorative term, but as Drew Magary notes, the dummy who wrote the column for their official site doesn't even write at a high school level.

Deadspin further analyzes Facebook's data on the rooting interests of NFL fans by locale, finding that the Cowboys gained plenty of fans in the DC area due to the RacistSlurs' refusal to integrate in the early 60s. Of course, the other outcome of that bigotry was that the RacistSlurs became a favorite in the Deep South.

Kudos to the MIT baseball co-captain who came out to his teammates, and to those teammates for supporting his courageous act.

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

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