ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Derek Wolfe has never been accused of holding back his opinions.
The Denver Broncos defensive end, however, said he didn’t speak up enough last season when the Broncos missed the playoffs a year after winning it all.
“When I see guys not doing the right thing, I’m going to tell them,” Wolfe said during a fiery news conference Tuesday. “I’m not going to sit back and let that (stuff) slide. Me, it’s either confrontation, fist-fight or say nothing. I’m learning how to not fight people if that makes sense.”
When GM John Elway and new coach Vance Joseph set about to remake the roster in the offseason, priority No. 1 was adding some attitude.
Basically, they wanted more Derek Wolfes.
To help him along the D-line and staunch a leaky run defense, the Broncos added former Bengals mainstay Domata Peko , a soft-spoken, lead-by-example type who’s the yin to Wolfe’s yang.
In Peko, Wolfe sees a guy who can help him keep order.
“With the two of us being able to team up on it, if I don’t catch it, he usually (will),” Wolfe said. “I’m more vocal than he is, if you can believe that. He’ll come up to me and say, `Hey man, should we do this?’ It’s just nice to have another ear in there to bounce things off of.”
With the retirement of DeMarcus Ware this offseason, the Broncos need that locker room leadership.
“I’ve been around enough great players that I’ve seen how not to do it and how to do it,” said Wolfe, who was drenched in sweat and still a little out of breath from a workout as he met with the media. “Over the years, just maturing. Every season for me is just a learning session. Every season is like a life. It’s like a life span. You learn something new every season and last season I didn’t do enough. I have to take more of a leadership role.”
Wolfe dealt with a sore neck much of last season and missed two games. But he said he’s healthy again and has added 20 pounds of muscle and now tips the scales at 310 pounds: “I’m moving as well as I’ve ever moved, so I feel great.”
Peko stepped up to the podium after Wolfe walked away and let out a belly laugh, then said he appreciated Wolfe’s intensity.
“It’s cool. Just watching film on him over the years, he’s a beast out there,” Peko said. “I love the way he plays. He has that no-B.S. mentality and that’s the kind of guy I want to play next to on the D-line.
“Derek is the type of guy that will let you know if you’re doing some stuff wrong and get after you that type of way. But also, he’s one of the hardest workers out here. He’s here every day, giving his all, giving his best,” Peko said. “That’s the same type of way that I am. I am the type of guy that tries to lead by example, just by doing the right things, always giving my best.”
Peko spent his first 11 seasons in Cincinnati before signing a two-year, $7.5 million deal with Denver. He said he’s already benefited from strength coach Luke Richesson’s program and working with D-line coach Bill Kollar. But more than anything, he likes the winning culture in Denver, where nine wins constitutes a crisis.
“In Cincy, we’re always talking about, `Oh, I want to win a playoff game. I want to win a playoff game.’ But over here, we’re talking about winning championships,” Peko said. “That’s what brought me here, I want to win a championship.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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