Rice wasn't ready

The denver Broncos still think that defensive end Simeon Rice can help them this season, if he gets healthy. Rice was inactive for the Chargers game.

The Denver Broncos hoped that defensive end Simeon Rice's surgically repaired left shoulder would be healthy and he would help their pass rush, but so far that hasn't been the case.

Rice didn't have a sack in Denver's first four games and was deactivated for the fifth. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he had Rice sit because he could tell that Rice wasn't completely ready. Rice, who had previously said his shoulder felt good, admitted he wasn't healthy.

"It's got me grounded," Rice said. "I feel like everybody else in this league for the first time. I don't feel special. I usually feel special."

The Broncos still think Rice can help them this season, if he gets healthy. And Rice said the extra time off did help his shoulder improve.

The Broncos' main deficiency on defense is against the run, but it wouldn't hurt to get Rice back to 100 percent. Rice has 121 career sacks.

Rice said he didn't disagree with Shanahan's decision to deactivate him. He said he couldn't take himself out of the lineup because he wanted to play through the injury, but it was for the best for him to sit.

"I've been humbled," Rice said. "Not often do I eat that pie. And that pie don't taste sweet, it tastes very sour."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos are hopeful that a week off can help their injury situation for a couple of key players. Receiver Javon Walker has a knee injury. Walker returned to practice Monday. Cornerback Champ Bailey has a quadriceps injury and didn't practice before the bye or the Monday the team returned, but the Broncos don't have any concern about his availability for this week's game against Pittsburgh.

"He'll be fine," Shanahan said.

--The Broncos have two prime-time games in the next two weeks. They play Pittsburgh at home on a Sunday night, and then get Green Bay on a Monday night in two weeks. The Broncos have three more prime-time games this season -- vs. Tennessee on Monday night Nov. 19, a Thursday night game at Houston on Dec. 13 and a Dec. 24 Monday night game at San Diego.



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