Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos(Photo: Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD - It’s OK to count out Denver Broncos tight end Vernon Davis.
Because he hasn’t.
The tight end who became forgotten almost as soon as he was introduced has been working extra after the practice this week. He worked extra after practice last week, too. And the week before that.
“This is something that I’ve been doing since I got in the NFL,’’ Davis said. “Despite what goes on, whether I’m in the game or not in the game, I still have to be prepared. My approach is to go out there and have a great game. That’s my mindset. I’ve been doing it every week since I’ve been here.’’
The difference this week is it was Peyton Manning who threw passes to him following practice Thursday.
Does that mean Davis will be the Broncos’ non-so-secret weapon against the New England Patriots? Not necessarily. Jordan Taylor is Manning’s favorite private receiver but the rookie from Rice and Sherman, Texas hasn’t played yet on account he can’t. Practice squad members aren’t eligible.
After Davis was acquired from San Francisco for a late-round draft pick on Nov. 2, he had six catches for 68 yards in a game three weeks later at Chicago, and seven catches for 74 yards on Dec. 13 against Oakland.
But since he short-armed a ball thrown across the middle by Brock Osweiler in a Dec. 20 game at Pittsburgh, Davis got in for just 13 offensive plays, and had no catches, in the Broncos’ next three games, including the playoff rematch last week against the Steelers.
“I know I had a ball I could have made but didn’t reach out for,’’ Davis said. “Let it go.’’
As for Taylor, he’s worthy of becoming an exception to the rule that practice squad players are not entitled to playoff shares. Bronco players for now will receive an extra $71,000 in playoff money ($25,000 for Division round; $46,000 for Conference Championship). Taylor is only receiving his $6,600 weekly playoff salary.
After a private throwing session with Taylor two days prior to the Broncos’ game against Cincinnati on Dec. 28, Manning mentioned Taylor and his nickname, “Sunshine” and said, “remember that name next year.’’
“I hope he can tell what’s coming,’’ Taylor said while flashing his face-brightening grin. “I didn’t hear it initially but he came up to me after the game ... and said, “Hey, I gave you a shout out out there,’’ Taylor said. “I said, ‘Hey, appreciate it.’ My parents, they were watching the game, and people from my hometown, it was a pretty big deal to them. Initially when he asked me to come out there with him to get some extra throws with him when he was first injured, I was happy to jump out there and do whatever he wanted me to do. We got four weeks into it eventually. It was great to see him progress day by day and week by week and then see him get back out there.”
(© 2016 KUSA)