ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — For the first time since 2003, an undrafted college free agent failed to make the Denver Broncos’ 53-man roster.
While finding the likes of star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had long been a point of pride for the organization, the end of the streak speaks to the work the front office has done to bolster the Broncos’ talent.
“Well, I’ll tell you right now, heads are going to roll in the personnel department. They didn’t find a CFA out there … that needle in the haystack,” cracked general manager John Elway. “But it talks about the roster that we have and it’s a lot deeper than it used to be.”
Among those cut by Denver were linebackers Steven Johnson and Lamin Barrow, seventh-year cornerback Tony Carter, fifth-year nose tackle Sione Fua and fourth-year tight end Dominique Jones.
“I feel like a lot of them will get some opportunities someplace else,” Elway said.
The Broncos were able to keep a couple of players who otherwise wouldn’t have made it because defenders Derek Wolfe and T.J. Ward began serving suspensions this weekend.
Wolfe has a four-game drug ban and Ward, a Pro Bowl safety, has to sit out the opener against Baltimore because of an incident at a strip club in May 2014 in which video surveillance showed him throwing a glass mug at a bartender.
Ward learned his appeal was denied on Thursday, the same day Tom Brady won his federal court case against the NFL that overturned his four-game ban in the “Deflategate” saga.
Ward complained that he was being punished for something that happened more than 15 months ago and in which criminal charges were dropped. He also suggested his suspension wasn’t overturned “because my last name’s not Brady.”
Elway refused to wade into the matter Saturday, saying, “I’ll let you deal with the league office. I’m not going to open that can. We’ll abide by the rules and move on.”
Third-year running back Montee Ball, who slipped from second-string to fourth and ran for just 2.1 yards a carry in the preseason, made the roster.
“He was in the top 53 in our minds, so that’s why Montee’s here,” Elway said, “and we still have high expectations for him.”
Rookie Trevor Siemian is Denver’s third QB after an impressive preseason in which he showcased his strong arm and terrific technique despite being just 10 months removed from ACL surgery.
“We’re real excited about him,” Elway said.
Among the tougher cuts for Elway was Ben Garland, who began training camp as the starting left guard but was quickly beaten out.
Garland tweeted: “Blessed to have had the opportunity to play for the Broncos. Class act organization top to bottom.”
Garland, a converted D-lineman who grew up in Colorado, played at Air Force and fulfilled his childhood dream of wearing both the Broncos and U.S. military uniforms, “is the kind of guy you’d like to have your daughter marry,” Elway said. “So, anytime you let go a guy like that, it’s tough.”
By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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