By Rich Kurtzman
On Tuesday, one Denver Broncos player’s season ended, while another’s began.
Linebacker Von Miller was officially placed on the Injured Reserve after tearing his ACL early in his team’s blowout of the Houston Texans and practice squad player Brandon Marshall was signed to the active roster.
Miller was a shooting star in the NFL, sky-rocketing from No. 2 overall pick to the most-feared pass-rusher in all of football. In his first two seasons, the man was a beast for the Broncos, racking up 29.5 sacks. His rookie campaign was the most productive ever (11.5 sacks) for a first-year player in Denver while last year represented the best ever for a pass-rusher in the orange and blue.
Yet, Miller got off on the wrong foot, sitting out the first six weeks of the season due to a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It was as though he mis-timed the snap, was far too slow and couldn’t quite recover.
Miller wasn’t his same man-terrorizing self even post-suspension, save the sensational first quarter against the New England Patriots in which he sacked Tom Brady twice, forcing and recovering a fumble. His other noteworthy play came in the win over the Tennessee Titans, when Miller rushed and tipped a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass that then floated into the waiting arms of Terrance Knighton.
Losing Von Miller is just another on the long list of big-time injuries the Broncos have sustained and played through, seeing multiple men step up.
In this case, third-year man Nate Irving will step into Miller’s starting outside linebacker role, while Denver will fill the roster spot with practice squad player Brandon Marshall; not to be confused with the diva receiver that used to call the Mile High City home.
Marshall was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, putting up two tackles in five games played. For the entirety of this season, he’s been on the Broncos’ practice squad, and has now been promoted to the active roster.
Marshall stands at 6’1” and 250 pounds, and the former Nevada Wolf Pack star will likely participate on the special teams’ kick coverage units immediately.
Denver finishes its regular season this Sunday in Oakland against the bitter rival Raiders. A win would cement the Broncos as the AFC’s No. 1 seed and guarantee home field advantage throughout the postseason. The game kicks off at 2:25 p.m. MT inside O.co Coliseum and will be televised on CBS.
For more Broncos news and updates, visit Broncos Central.
Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.