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Old 06-24-2009, 08:08 AM   #1
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Default Broncos' Buckhalter happy to be shareholder

It's funny, the things that Correll Buckhalter considers to be blessings.

Things like knee injuries — three of them, all season-ending — or the addition of a star-in-the-making rookie running back like Knowshon Moreno.

Another player might consider any one of those things, let alone the combination, to be a curse, but not the Broncos' Buckhalter, who somehow has managed to preserve a glass-half-full perspective after eight often-frustrating seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"At this point in my career, the more that you can share, the better your body can be," Buckhalter said. "I'm not one of those guys coming in feeling like, 'I've got to get all the carries and all the reps.' I'm a guy coming into this to compete to my fullest ability to be the No. 1 back, but whatever (coach Josh McDaniels) has for us, whether I'm in on one package or three or four different packages, I'm going to give everything I got. I'm not greedy."
He never has known any other way.

Buckhalter split carries while in college at Nebraska — with another running back and also with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Eric Crouch.

When Buckhalter arrived in Philadelphia as a rookie in 2001, he split carries with veteran Duce Staley. In recent years, he was the No. 2 back to Pro Bowler Brian Westbrook.

Buckhalter was productive, yes, with 682 yards rushing and an average of 4.9 yards per carry during the past two seasons, but he was never a star.

And now he's preparing to be part of another committee, along with Moreno, fellow veteran free-agent addition LaMont Jordan and Peyton Hillis, who also plays fullback.

"I'm used to it. Nowadays in this league, lots of teams use two or three running backs," Buckhalter said. "There are not that many guys in the league anymore that are just that single guy — only a handful. That's what it has evolved to, and I'm fine with that. It's been that way for me for a while."

Perhaps some of Buckhalter's perspective comes from the time he spent sidelined with knee injuries. First, he tore his left ACL during an offseason practice in the spring of 2002 and missed the entire season.

He returned to play in 2003, but spent all of the 2004 and 2005 seasons on injured reserve after twice rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee, both times in the preseason.

"It was like, 'You have to be kidding me!' " said Broncos safety Brian Dawkins, Buckhalter's teammate from 2001-08 in Philadelphia. "It was so tough to see him go through all of that, especially because of when he first got there, how much promise he had, and what we was going to bring to our football team."

Buckhalter said few people believed he would be able to return to football after the consecutive injuries, yet he has managed to stay mostly healthy since the start of the 2006 season. It helps, he said, that he dropped 10 pounds, treats his body better and hasn't endured the same amount of pounding as most 30-year-old running backs.

"It's been a blessing, the injuries I had in '04 and '05. They kind of helped my body stay fresh at the same time, and that's why I feel this way now, that I'm a very fresh guy," said Buckhalter, who has rushed for 2,155 yards and 18 touchdowns in his NFL career.

McDaniels said the Denver staff targeted Buckhalter in free agency because coaches felt he had "multidimensional" skills that would allow him to succeed in the role of a traditional running back and also in the passing game as a blocker or receiver.

"His body is young," McDaniels said. "He just might be, as a matter of fact, I think he is, our fastest back. He's got a great burst and he's got great long speed.

"To add a guy to our offense that is very unselfish and is going to accept whatever role he earns is great, and he's going to play his butt off."
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:00 AM   #2
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Wait.... what? A positive article about a Broncos player? FROM THE DENVER POST! I'm floored.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:16 AM   #4
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Great article. I've only watched one or two games with Buckhalter getting significant playing time but in those games, Buckhalter is very productive. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:31 AM   #5
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he's a tough runner - he's a little versatile - just bad knees.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:34 AM   #6
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Buck was a good FA signing. I'm happy to have him on the team.
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