ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – From tardy to hardy, Jeremy Mincey‘s NFL journey has taken an abrupt turn.
The defensive end who was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday after missing two team meetings and falling out of favor with a front office that that gave him a four-year $20 million contract last year was all smiles after his first practice with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday.
He went from a 4-10 team to one that’s 11-3 and fighting for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Broncos coach John Fox said, “the guy has a clean slate coming in here and he had a good first day’s work.”
The addition of Mincey gives the Broncos a much-needed veteran to help set the edge on a line that’s missing Derek Wolfe, who hasn’t played since suffering seizure-like symptoms on the team bus ride to the airport last month, and which also recently lost run-stuffer Kevin Vickerson to a dislocated right hip.
“I feel like it was destiny really,” Mincey said. “I was going through a lot and I knew my potential and I just couldn’t show it when I was there. Things happen but I’m here with the Denver Broncos now. I’m all in with the Denver Broncos. I get to play with Hall of Famers like Champ Bailey and Peyton Manning.”
In Denver, Mincey reunites with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was his head coach when he had his best seasons in Jacksonville with a combined 13 sacks in 2010-11.
“He understood me, he knew me. Like fruit grown in your backyard that you watch grow over and over. You water it, give it sunshine and he pretty much did that with me,” Mincey said. “I reached his expectations and I feel like getting back to those expectations.”
He’s also glad to be reunited with former Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton in Denver.
“That’s even better. He’s the man. T-Knight, he’s really intelligent. He’s a smart football player. He plays hard and he plays to win. That’s one thing that you can always love and respect about the guy,” Mincey said.
Mincey said he also had immediate interest from Dallas and New Orleans upon his release from the Jaguars, where he had two sacks in eight games, none of them starts, this season.
Asked what will be different in Denver as opposed to Jacksonville, he said: “Inspiration. When you’re inspired about something it’s hard to let yourself down and when you don’t let yourself down you’re not going to let the people around you down. That’s the type of guy I am.
“I was lacking a lot of inspiration there. I was on the treadmill pretty much and I’m glad that the off switch came and I fell out and fell onto a better treadmill. I feel like things happen for a reason and this really was fate.”
He said he could play Sunday against Houston if the coaches deem him ready.
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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