The Denver Broncos have signed quarterback Christian Ponder following the announcement that five time NFL MVP Peyton Manning will be out an as yet unknown period of time with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
Ponder was brought to Denver for a workout Tuesday night after the team failed to acquire former Chicago Bear Jimmy Clausen off waivers. Clausen was claimed by the Baltimore Ravens. Ponder attended team meetings Wednesday morning and participated in his first practice with the Broncos at the UC Health Training Center later that afternoon.
During his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, Ponder started 36 of 38 games during his first four seasons after being selected with Minnesota’s first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Florida State University.
Ponder had signed a contract with the Oakland Raiders prior to this season, but was released by the team following the preseason. Ponder’s career statistics in the NFL are impressive. He has completed 632-of-1,057 passes, a completion percentage of 59.5 percent for 6,658 yards with 38 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions.
In order to make room for Ponder on the Broncos roster, the team placed defensive end Kenny Anunike on season ending injured reserve. Anunike impressed defensive coaches during training camp, but has struggled to see the field since undergoing knee surgery in August. He has been active for just three games this season, recording just one tackle during the Broncos trip to Cleveland October 18th.
Rookie Trevor Siemian will be starting quarterback Brock Osweiler's backup this weekend for the Broncos primetime matchup with the undefeated New England Patriots. Ponder is not expected to be active.