GREELEY, Colo.-The Denver Broncos have signed first-round draft pick Ashley Lelie and former Seattle defensive end Michael Sinclair, and waived running back Paris Gaines.
Lelie is the last of Denver's eight 2002 draft choices to sign a contract with the club. Previous draft picks to sign included seventh-round choices Chris Young (6/11) and Monsanto Pope (6/14), sixth-round choice Jeb Putzier (6/14), fifth-round selection Herb Haygood (6/18), third-round pick Dorsett Davis (7/19), fourth-round pick Sam Brandon (7/19) and second-round selection Clinton Portis (7/25).
The first University of Hawaii player ever taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, Lelie joins the Broncos all-time scoring leader, Jason Elam, as the only two Hawaii players drafted by the Broncos. Lelie made a name for himself at Hawaii as a former walk-on with his great speed and physical presence on the field. He finished his career as the Warriors' all-time leader in receptions (194), receiving yards (3,341) and touchdown receptions (32), and averaged 17.2 yards per catch.
Lelie, 6-3, 200 lbs., entered the NFL Draft after a record-breaking junior season in which he set new school marks for receptions (84), receiving yards (1,713) and touchdown receptions (19), while posting two games with double-digit receptions, seven 100-yard games and three 200-yard games.
Born Ashley Jovon Lelie in Bellflower, Calif. on Feb. 16, 1980, he is a 1998 graduate of Radford High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he earned two letters each in football, track and basketball. He was selected to both the all-district and all-state teams in football and was an all-District choice in basketball and an all-league selection in track. His family currently makes its home in Beaufort, S.C.
Sinclair, 6-4, 275 lbs., comes to Denver after playing 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, where he earned three Pro Bowl appearances. He was released by Seattle in Feb. 2002. A sixth-round pick by the Seahawks in the 1991 NFL Draft, Sinclair has 73.5 career sacks and 351 total tackles (273 solo). After starting his NFL career on Seattle's practice squad in 1991, Sinclair played for the Sacramento Surge in the World League in 1992. Sinclair overcame a pair of stints on Seattle's injured reserved list in 1992 and 1993 to become a full-time starter.
In 1996, Sinclair started all 16 games at left end and made his first Pro Bowl appearance. He was the first Seattle end to make the Pro Bowl since Jacob Green in 1987. He finished that season with 13.0 sacks to rank tied for third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL, including a team-record four sacks against Denver in Week 2.
Earning his second straight Pro Bowl selection in 1997, Sinclair led the team with 12 sacks and ranked second in the AFC behind Bruce Smith's 14. His best season as a pro came in 1998 when he led the NFL with a team-record 16.5 sacks. It also marked his third consecutive season with a double-digit sack total.
A four-year letterman at Eastern New Mexico, Sinclair played his first two seasons as a linebacker before moving to defensive end. He earned all-Lone Star conference honors as a junior and senior, and won the Sikes Award as a senior as conference Defensive Lineman of the Year. In addition to being selected to the All-Lone Star Conference All-Decade of the 1980's Team, he was inducted into Eastern New Mexico's Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, 1996.
Sinclair was born Jan. 31, 1968 in Galveston, Texas, and was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and track) at Charlton-Pollard High School in Beaumont, Texas. Sinclair and his wife, Betty, have two sons, Michael and Johnnie Glenn, and two daughters, Michaela and Mary.
In addition, the Broncos waived running back Paris Gaines. A rookie free agent from Fresno State, Gaines originally signed with the club May 1, 2002.
Broncos sign Ashley Lelie and Michael Sinclair
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