Broncos Update Insider - Sunday, May 15

Defensive end Trevor Pryce spent the first few months of the offseason wondering where he would be playing. The Denver Broncos tried trading Pryce, but couldn't get anyone to give up what they considered equal value. Pryce eventually agreed to a restructured contract that saved Denver about $3 million in salary-cap room, so he's back with the team, working out with teammates in the offseason program.

"It did (feel strange) at first," Pryce said. "But once I got into the swing of it and workouts are going good, I think it's behind everybody."

Now, Pryce wants to have a big season and put last year's disappointment behind him.

Last season Pryce played in only two games because of a back injury. He played sparingly in the season opener, then had back surgery on Sept. 22 to fix a bulging disc. He came back and played a few plays in the final game of the season, but couldn't play in Denver's playoff game.

Pryce said his back feels well and he's getting back in shape. Last year he came to training camp in the best shape of his career, and he wants to replicate that again this season. He said he weighs only a few pounds more than his target playing weight for this season, which is a little more than 280 pounds.

Pryce should also benefit from a position change. Two seasons ago he played strong-side defensive end, lining up across from a tackle and a tight end. This year he'll be playing weak-side end, which will give him more room to operate.

Two years ago, Broncos weak-side end Bertrand Berry had 11.5 sacks. Last year, weak-side end Reggie Hayward had 10.5 sacks for Denver.

"They had it a bit easier, not dealing with the tight end," Pryce said.

Pryce said he is faster than Hayward and Berry, so he might be in line for one of the best seasons in his career if he can stay healthy.

"It could be (a big season)," Pryce said. "I've never done it (played weak-side end) before, though."

NOTES, QUOTES

-- The Broncos started their first team activity of the offseason on May 16. They changed their typical postdraft minicamp, which is usually the second weekend after the draft, to early July.

Denver wanted to hold its first team activity, which is a quarterback camp that will go from May 16-26, when all of its rookies were eligible to attend. Denver will have eight on-field workouts in that two-week stretch.

-- The Broncos signed undrafted free agent quarterback Chad Friehauf, who had a successful career at Division II Colorado School of Mines. Friehauf was the 2004 Harlon Hill Trophy recipient, given to the top player in Division II. He had 5,363 yards of total offense last season and he could be a good fit in Denver's offense because of his mobility.

The Broncos released tight end Mike Pinkard when they signed Friehauf.

-- Denver's quarterback camp will be the unofficial start of running back Maurice Clarett's career with the Broncos. May 16, the day the quarterback camp starts, is the first day rookies can participate in the team's offseason workout program. Clarett has professed that he's ready to get to work for the Broncos.

"From here on out, whatever they ask me, whatever they want me to do, is what I'm going to do," Clarett said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I do feel younger than I have felt in a very long time." -- Broncos DE Trevor Pryce, who sat out most of last season with a back injury.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Garrison Hearst; DT Ellis Johnson.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: P Jason Baker; S Sam Brandon; OG Cooper Carlisle; DE Marco Coleman; DT Dorsett Davis; DT Luther Elliss; OG Ben Hamilton; TE Patrick Hape; TE/LS Mike Leach; DE Anton Palepoi; DT Monsanto Pope; TE Jeb Putzier; CB Lenny Walls; S Chris Young.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Stephen Alexander; DE Courtney Brown; LB Keith Burns; OT Anthony Clement; RB Ron Dayne; DE Ebenezer Ekuban; LB Ian Gold; DT Michael Myers; DT Gerard Warren.
PLAYERS LOST: RB Reuben Droughns; DE Reggie Hayward; CB Kelly Herndon; S Kenoy Kennedy; G Dan Neil, CB Lewis Sanders.

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