ENGLEWOOD, Colo.— Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Anunike played like his hair was on fire all through OTAs and training camp. He earned the trust of his coaches to play the 5-technique in the Broncos 3-4 defense.
He parlayed his camp performances into a dominant display in the Broncos first preseason game vs. the Seattle Seahawks. But hours after the game, his knee began to swell up, requiring a scope to clear it up.
He's been recovering ever since. However, the Broncos chose to keep him on the 53-man roster and with the four-game suspension to starting left defensive end Derek Wolfe, they could really use him in their defensive line rotation.
“He looked good," Head coach Gary Kubiak said after practice today. "I watched him specifically in individual drills. He's back at it. He was a little bit limited—didn't do everything—but for the first day back, he's getting awful close. [It was] nice for us to get back to full strength there. He's good.”
For Anunike, it felt good to be back out on the grass, competing with his teammates.
"It felt really good to be back out there with my teammates and have a little fun on defense," Anunike said. "I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back out there and my knee is finally ready to go. I’ll just take it day-by-day and see how it goes as the week progresses.”
Although it's still early in the process, Anunkie has an eye on playing this coming Sunday vs. the Detroit Lions.
“Like I said, it’s up to [Head] Coach [Gary] Kubiak, [Head Athletic Trainer Steve] ‘Greek’ [Antonopulos] and the training staff," he said. "If they see that I’m fit and that I’m ready to go for Sunday, then I’ll play on Sunday. If not, I’ll just keep on progressing. Trust me, I’ll be back out there as soon as I possibly can.”
One thing is for sure. In Anunike's absence, the Broncos have still been able to get after the quarterback, totaling 49 pressures over a two-game span. Just like the fans, the first-year player out of Duke University has marveled at his teammates relentlessness.
“No. question. That’s what I’m built for is pass rushing and getting after that quarterback," Anunike said. "Standing on the sideline, you can’t do much about it, so it felt really good to get back out there today with my teammates pass rushing and helping to stop the run. I’m looking forward to it, just keep on taking it day-by-day and get better and better.”
We'll know later in the week if Kenny Anunike will suit up for the Broncos Week 3 game in Detroit. Stay tuned.
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