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Broncos’ RB Young out to prove himself

Arnie Stapleton
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Jack Dempsey/APDenver Broncos running back Selvin Young (35) breaks from the grasp of Cleveland Browns linebacker Leon Williams during the first quarter of a pre-season game in Denver, Saturday.
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ENGLEWOOD ” Tailback Selvin Young figured he would have been the steal of the draft ” had anybody bothered to select him.

Dogged by injuries throughout his five years at the University of Texas, Young’s phone never rang on draft weekend. So, he signed as a free agent with the running-rich Denver Broncos.

He didn’t leave his bravado at the border.



“Of course, I felt like I was the best running back coming out of this draft,” Young said. “But I got my whole entire career to prove that and not let someone else decide by picking people who’s that guy. So, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and I feel I’m prepared for it and I like that fight.

“I’m going to prove that I was the best.”



For now, though, he’ll settle for just convincing the coaches he belongs in a crowded Broncos backfield that includes Travis Henry, Mike Bell and Cecil Sapp along with fullbacks Kyle Johnson and Paul Smith.

Young has one more shot at making the roster when the Broncos wrap up the preseason Thursday night against Arizona. Although Henry (knee) and Bell (hip) returned to practice Monday, coach Mike Shanahan said he’s not going to deviate from his plan to sit his starters, so Young should get plenty of handoffs against the Cardinals.

Young thrived with those two tailbacks on the sideline Saturday night, splitting snaps with Sapp and rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.



“He looked faster to me than everybody else on the field,” Shanahan said. “He looked like he was a step quicker than everybody else. It’s pretty impressive for a guy to come in with a couple tailbacks going down for him to step up, and to play with the kind of sense of urgency that he has. He broke a few tackles and I was impressed with the way that he played.”

Henry was likewise impressed by the undrafted rookie.

“Oh, man, he ran hard. He did good. He put himself in a good position to help this football team,” Henry said.

Young, who has a plate and 11 screws in his right ankle, said he hasn’t felt this good since high school.

“Don’t draft me and I get healthy,” he said with a shrug and a smile.

Young, whose block cleared the way for Vince Young’s game-winning touchdown run in the Rose Bowl that gave Texas the 2005 national title, is driven to make other teams regret passing him up.

“Every step I take out there, it’s almost like an interview,” Young said. “I feel healthy and hopefully I can stay that way. As long as I’m healthy there’s a lot of big things to come.”

Henry, who signed a $25 million contract with Denver in the offseason, practiced Monday for the first time since spraining his left knee against Dallas two weeks ago.

He said he was pain-free and a “little timid” running to his left, “but today they just wanted me to just feel my way. So, I was just picking and choosing when I burst and when I felt good.”

Henry said he expects to be ready for the Sept. 9 opener at Buffalo.

And Young is hoping to be right there with him.


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