Broncos Update Insider - 5/10

Looking back, it is hard to believe Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler was affected by Type 1 diabetes for six months without being diagnosed.

Jay Cutler is prepared to be better in 2008, now that he finally knows he has Type 1 diabetes.

Cutler was feeling so poorly before being diagnosed in April that it was somewhat of a relief to find out what was wrong. He knows it is a serious condition but he is ready to make the off-field changes necessary to help him in his career.

"It's not going to change me on the field," Cutler said. "I'll make some lifestyle changes but I'll probably be a better quarterback this year than I was last year."

Last year, in October, Cutler started to lose weight. He started the season at 238 pounds but played the season finale at 203. During a quick conversation with the Broncos' training staff, they wondered if the grind of the season was the problem.

"I kind of figured it was that," Cutler said. "My first year starting, it's a long season."

He said since being diagnosed he has started to gain back weight quickly. He was up to 220 pounds by the end of April. He said he feels much better since being on insulin. Although his numbers didn't drop in November and December, he said he didn't feel well and couldn't make all the throws he was used to.

"I was able to go out and perform, I just wasn't that energetic," Cutler said.

One of Cutler's biggest challenges as a diabetic playing in the NFL will be monitoring his situation closely. Many athletes have played with diabetes, including former NFL offensive lineman Jay Leeuwenburg. Leeuwenburg said one of Cutler's biggest challenges will be to figure out how different circumstances affect his diabetes and react accordingly.

"It will affect him," Leeuwenburg said. "It depends on what he has in place to make it less impactful."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Broncos hired Brian Xanders, formerly of the Falcons' front office, to the position of assistant general manager. He joins Jeff Goodman as the Broncos' assistant general managers under Jim Goodman, who was named as the team's vice president of football operations/player personnel.

--Anthony Kelly was promoted to the position of the assistant coordinator of pro and college scouting for the Broncos as part of a front office reorganization.

--The Broncos are one of the few teams not to hold a post-draft minicamp. Their mandatory minicamp is in July. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan likes having it so close to training camp, so players retain information, and he also doesn't have to worry about draftees whose semester in school hasn't ended not being able to attend per NFL rules.

--Looking back, it is hard to believe Jay Cutler was affected by Type 1 diabetes for six months without being diagnosed.

He dropped 35 pounds during the season and said teammates and friends would tell him that he didn't look healthy. He said he spoke to Broncos trainer Steve Antonopulos once about his weight loss, and Antonopulos said it might have come from stress. He said other players in his position had lost weight.

"I kind of figured it was that," Cutler said. "My first year starting, it's a long season."

Cutler didn't give the training staff many opportunities to notice how much he was affected physically late last year. He stayed away from the training room and never consulted a doctor.

"Looking back on it, I obviously should have," Cutler said. "I don't like doctors, I don't like the training room, I try to stay away from it as much as possible. I hadn't been seriously sick, I hadn't been seriously injured during my career. I just felt like this is something I could deal with and hopefully it would go away."

He was tired all the time, had frequent urination and was always thirsty. Since he has done some homework on diabetes, he understands now he was showing the signs of having the condition.

"You go and look at the symptoms for diabetes and I had them all," Cutler said. "At the time I wasn't quite sure what it was."

Cutler was diagnosed in April when he and the rest of his teammates had a blood test as part of physicals before the offseason training program began. Since then he has changed his diet and started living his new life as an insulin-dependent diabetic.

"When I found out, the next couple of days, just happy to figure out what it was and that it was treatable and I'd be able to continue to play football at a high level," Cutler said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There was just something wrong." -- Quarterback Jay Cutler on his condition in late 2007, which turned out to be Type 1 diabetes.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--TE Stephen Alexander is very unlikely to be back, he will probably retire.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--LB Boss Bailey: UFA Lions; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.
--WR Keary Colbert: UFA Panthers: $7.3M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--WR Darrell Jackson: FA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Niko Koutouvides: UFA Seahawks; $7.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--S Marquand Manuel: UFA Panthers; $4.5M/3 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
--S Marlon McCree: FA Chargers; terms unknown.
--WR Samie Parker: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Dewayne Robertson (trade Jets).
--C Casey Wiegmann: UFA Chiefs; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Hamza Abdullah: RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban: UFA; 1 YR, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Domonique Foxworth: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--TE Nate Jackson: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--CB Karl Paymah: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--OT Erik Pears: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
--FB Cecil Sapp: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

PLAYERS LOST
--K Jason Elam: UFA Falcons; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.
--S Nick Ferguson: UFA Texans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Ian Gold (released).
--LB Warrick Holdman (released).
--OT Matt Lepsis (retired).
--C Chris Myers: RFA; traded Texans.
--FB Paul Smith (released).
--WR Javon Walker (released).



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