Broncos RB J.J. Arrington’s knee on the mend
AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Coloraod
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Broncos running back J.J. Arrington insisted his noticeable limp is of no concern.
Sure, his surgically repaired right knee bothered him on certain drills at passing camp Friday. But he said that was to be expected and he’s actually ahead of schedule.
Arrington proclaimed himself 85 percent healed and reiterated he would be at full strength by training camp in late July.
The 27-year-old Arrington adds depth to the Broncos backfield and will compete with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter for carries.
If healthy, he figures to play a prominent role as a third-down specialist, just like he did for Arizona when the Cardinals were the NFC champs in 2008.
“I’m going to try to get in wherever I fit in,” Arrington said. “I have two great backs in front of me.”
This is Arrington’s second go-round with the Broncos. Although, his first stint wasn’t all that memorable since he didn’t even take a handoff.
After singing a four-year, $10 million deal with Denver before the 2009 season, Arrington was released two months later when he failed a physical due to that balky right knee.
He sat on the sideline last season as he recuperated.
In March, the Broncos signed him to another deal. Arrington appreciates Broncos coach Josh McDaniels giving him a second chance.
“Coach called me every few months, checked up on me, to see how I’m doing,” Arrington said. “I appreciate that from him.”
Arrington’s knee began giving him trouble after undergoing arthroscopic surgery soon after the Cardinals’ loss in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He had another procedure done last June after the knee didn’t heal as expected.
“It’s been a year so everything has healed up pretty good now,” Arrington said.
Broncos right tackle Ryan Harris and rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas also participated on a limited basis Friday. Harris is coming off a toe injury that led to him being placed on injured reserve in December.
Thomas, a first-round pick out of Georgia Tech, has been out since breaking his left foot in drills leading up to the NFL combine.
“To have them out there in the huddle, hearing the play calls and actually working with their teammates and communicating and getting coached, I think that’s really an important part of this year,” McDaniels said.
KELLEY HURT: Backup linebacker Braxton Kelley injured his right knee when he collided with a teammate on kickoff coverage. Kelley limped off the field soon after the play and McDaniels didn’t have an update following practice.
“I certainly hope it’s nothing serious,” McDaniels said. “It’s a fluke incident.”
COVERED UP: Broncos cornerback Alphonso Smith conducted an entire interview Friday by leaving the helmet on his head.
That’s straight out of the playbook of Dolphins tailback Ricky Williams, who has conducted post-game interviews wearing his helmet and a tinted visor to avoid eye contact.
Anything to Smith’s stratagem?
“I was just going in the locker room, so you guys caught me this way,” Smith explained, smiling.
The second-year defensive back had quite an afternoon on the field, picking off a Tim Tebow pass and deflecting several others. He’s trying to contend with players like Nate Jones for a spot in the nickel package.
“We’re both out here trying to get better and may the best man win,” Smith said.