Gold back in Broncos fold

The Denver Broncos have signed free-agent linebacker Ian Gold, who left last year to join the Tampa Bay Buccanneers.

Gold was given a five-year contract worth about $22.5 million with an $8.5 million signing bonus. He recently fired his agents and negotiated on his own behalf with the help of an attorney.

Gold, 6-0, 223 pounds, enters his sixth NFL season and fifth year with the Broncos, rejoining the team after playing for Tampa Bay in 2004. In four seasons (2000-03) with Denver, Gold distinguished himself as a top special-teams player and earned Pro Bowl honors on the unit in 2001 before emerging as a starting linebacker in 2002.

He played 70 career regular-season games (35 starts) with the Broncos and Buccaneers, totaling 374 tackles (276 solo), 12 sacks (57 yds.), three interceptions (45 yds.), 15 pass breakups, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The Broncos' 2003 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, Gold scored two touchdowns in his career on returns of an interception and a blocked punt.

In 2004, Gold played 16 games (13 starts) and finished third on the Buccaneers with 120 tackles (70 solo) while adding one interception (31 yds.), half a sack (5 yds.) and two pass breakups. He recorded a career-high 166 tackles (130 solo) in 2002 as a 16-game starter for the Broncos and added 6.5 sacks (34 yds.), which tied for the fifth-highest total in the AFC (T-8th in NFL) among linebackers.

Drafted by the Broncos in the second round (40th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft from the University of Michigan, Gold was a two-time All-Big Ten selection for the Wolverines and was an all-state running back at Belleville High School in Belleville, Mich. Ian Maurice Gold was born Aug. 23, 1978, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

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