The Denver Broncos have their 53-men for the season, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some heartache involved.
“Today is the worst day of the year,” John Elway said Friday after the team announced their cuts. “The second worst day is last week when we get down to 75 because these guys, they put their heart and souls into being NFL football players. You end a lot of dreams. Guys put a lot of sweat and tears into trying to make a team so it’s always a very tough day.”
The Broncos waived quite a few veterans such as Drayton Florence, Ben Garland, and Greg Orton, but tackle Ryan Harris was probably the deepest and hardest cut.
Harris was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2007 draft, and he was with the team from 2007-2010 where he started 34 games. He was placed on the injured reserve list in 2009 after dislocating two toes, and Josh McDaniels was very frustrated with his play. Harris made his way back to the starting lineup at the end of the 2010 season, but decided to move on to a different team in free agency.
Harris signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and was supposed to be the starter there until he herniated a disk in his back during a preseason game. After he had surgery (the third of his career) on his back, many believed that he didn’t play with enough athleticism.
That didn’t deter the Broncos from resigning him, however.
During Broncos training camp, Harris rotated in with the second and third team offense and was listed as Orlando Franklin’s backup on the depth chart. Chris Clark was the first tackle off the bench in practice and games, however, and as it turns out, that’s who the Broncos ended up choosing in the end.
“It always comes down to the numbers,” Elway said. “Ryan [Harris] had a good camp. He competed. We just felt that with [Chris] Kuper being down and out for probably four more weeks that numbers wise we had to go the direction that we went of keeping Chris Clark as a tackle, and then C.J. [Davis] will be the swing guard center, and then [Philip] Blake will be the eight man there with Kuper being the ninth man. We planned on keeping nine and that’s how it fell out.”
Even though the Broncos weren’t so high on Harris, he could still end up making a roster somewhere. All NFL rosters are far from finalized. Each team will be working on scouting other teams’ roster moves to see if a waived player is worth taking.
My prediction for Harris is that he will stay in the AFC West and move on to the San Diego Chargers where they are hurting on the offensive line.