The Denver Broncos continued to retool their defensive line, agreeing to a two-year deal with former first-round pick Ty Warren. It's worth $10 million, including $2.5 guaranteed.
Warren hit the field as soon as he could with his new teammates Thursday.
"After getting in touch with John Fox and just sitting down and going over the scheme with D-line coaches and their energy and exuberance and where they're trying to go, it was pretty much an easy decision when I stepped back and thought about what every single person I talked to said," Warren said.
Warren, who played end in New England's 3-4 scheme, was released by the Patriot last week. He missed last season following hip surgery in August, but passed the Broncos' physical.
"I feel real good," Warren said. "After a year, it just feels foreign with the pads on. But football's football at the end of the day, so I've just got to get in there and mix it up. It felt like I never left."
During his first six seasons, Warren racked up 20.5 sacks, and is a versatile player who could even slide inside in Fox's 4-3 alignment.
He joins fellow newcomers Broderick Bunkley and Derrick Harvey on Denver's defensive line; all three are former first-round picks (Warren in 2003, Bunkley in 2006 and Harvey in 2008.)
"Everybody we bring in we think is going to improve our defense, and as I mentioned after the draft, defensive tackle was going to be an area that we were going to address in free agency," Fox said. "I think the trade with Broderick Bunkley, and of course the signing of Ty Warren, gives us two guys that have started and played at a high level in the National Football League. I think that will improve our defense."
--Defensive end Elvis Dumervil not only has returned to the practice field after a nearly year-long absence due to a chest injury with his health intact. He's also accumulated enough college credits taking five online courses that he's on the cusp of being a Louisville graduate.
Dumervil needs to pass only two more classes to earn his degree. He explained there was no external pressure from family to complete his education but rather something important personally, even though his NFL career has set him up for life monetarily.
"I haven't promised anything, but all my brothers have degrees," he said. "It's more than a financial issue. That piece of paper means a lot. A degree means you finished something you started and I can get that satisfaction of completing college."
--Everyone has their own personalities, but to say that Josh McDaniels was intense behind the scenes during his time as Broncos coach is probably an understatement. He made some players shudder, especially the younger ones, shudder. But treated many veterans well.
There's a different vibe with Fox at the helm. Then again, he didn't endure most of the Broncos' dreadful 4-12 season in 2010 like his predecessor.
"I think just being in meetings it's a little more lighthearted," receiver Eric Decker said. "Guys are laughing, smiling, enjoying learning football being out there. That's the best part. That's how you get the camaraderie."
--RB Knowshon Moreno has started 22 of 29 games since becoming the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He's rushed 429 times for 1,726 yards and 12 TDs with another 65 catches.
But the big-play ability has been sorely lacking, with just five runs of 20-plus yards and not a single big-gainer of more than 40.
Injuries have contributed, particularly to Moreno's hamstrings.
But this is a big year for Moreno, who now must ingratiate himself to the new staff while competing for carries with free-agent pickup Willis McGahee.
"I've been through a lot of adversity. My first year I was just trying to get to the flow of things; the second year, injury. It's definitely not been up to where it could be. It's nowhere near where I can be. So that's where my focus is on this year-getting out there, helping the team and just being the best I can be.
"Working to my best potential. I'm still learning."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think that's his biggest strength: his body control. He can go up and he'll be 11 feet in the air and all of a sudden he lands on his feet. Most guys would fall on their back. I'm one of them." - CB Champ Bailey, on the on-field contortionist otherwise known as Pro Bowl WR Brandon Lloyd
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