Herndon departure official; Shanny discusses youngsters in the secondary and Droughns
Kapalua, Hawaii - When cornerback Kelly Herndon got the news he had been expecting the past five days, one of his first thoughts was to go back to Dove Valley.
Even though he is all but a Seattle Seahawk now, Herndon wanted to return to the Broncos and his NFL roots to say thanks.
"I have no hard feelings at all," said Herndon, after learning the Broncos will not match the Seahawks' offer sheet. "Denver gave me my start in the NFL and I really thank him (coach Mike Shanahan) for everything they gave me and it has allowed me to get into this position."
Herndon will receive a five-year, $15 million contract that includes a $3.6 million signing bonus.
Because Herndon was not drafted, Seattle does not owe the Broncos compensation for signing him. His departure has been in the works since early February, when Denver decided to give cornerback Lenny Walls a $1.4 million first-round tender over Herndon. Denver views Walls, who was injured much of last season, as a better long-term player. Walls is expected to be fully recovered from a season-ending shoulder injury by training camp.
"I understand it's all business," Herndon said. "Now I know what I'm going to do, and I look forward to the future."
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said the decision not to match the offer was financial. Shanahan said Willie Middlebrooks, Jeff Shoate and Jeremy LeSueur are among those who will play in nickel situations. Shanahan said Roc Alexander, who finished the season as the nickel because of several injuries, is best suited as an outside cover man.
Droughns no lock
Shanahan said Reuben Droughns could be back with the Broncos despite his wishes to be traded. However, his old starting fullback job might not be available.
"Kyle Johnson will go in as our starting fullback," Shanahan said. "Kyle had a very good year."
Shanahan also said he likes the prospect of Cecil Sapp at fullback.
Droughns was the Broncos' starting fullback last season before switching to tailback because of injuries at the position. Droughns had quick success before wearing down at the end of the season, finishing with 1,240 yards.
Droughns has attempted to cash in on his production by seeking a trade, but there has been little interest.
Shanahan said Droughns will get a chance to play if he returns and isn't upset by his trade request.
"We're allowing him to test the market," Shanahan said.
Shanahan said the Broncos will consider other veteran quarterbacks, likely those who may be cut after June 1 or during training camp. He said the team would be content to go into camp with incumbent backup Danny Kanell competing with youngsters Matt Mauck and Bradlee Van Pelt. Shanahan said the team has no interest in Washington restricted free agent Tim Hasselbeck.
Shanahan said the team will have joint workouts with the Texans in Houston for a couple of days before their preseason opener the second week of August. The Broncos made a trip there two years ago.