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Rocky Mountain News: Gardener pained to admit he won't be ready


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Gardener pained to admit he won't be ready :cry: :cry: :cry:

By Lynn DeBruin and Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News

September 1, 2003


This time there was no tough-guy talk, no bold predictions about knowing his body better than anybody else.

Instead, Denver Broncos defensive tackle Daryl Gardener admitted he was wrong to think he would be ready to play in the season opener Sunday against Cincinnati.

"I'm looking real stupid right now, saying what I said," Gardener said this weekend. "Playing in that first game is not likely."

It was the first time Gardener has wavered from his vow to be ready once the season starts.

"I don't like being wrong," he said.

What changed his mind was another conversation with his doctor in New York regarding his injured right wrist.

He is scheduled to have four pins removed Wednesday, and he insisted he would manage the pain and practice Thursday and Friday.

"I had two back surgeries and came back early. I don't think a hand is going to slow me down," he said Thursday.

Later that day, doctors convinced him it wasn't about managing pain.

"They're more concerned about atrophy (in the wrist and arm.) They want to make sure I don't bring further harm to myself," he said.

"When they pull those pins out, there's going to be a hole in my bone. They want to give it some time to heal, get the rehab going."

Though Gardener is resigned that he won't play against Cincinnati, he still is holding out hope of playing Sept. 14 against San Diego.

Coach Mike Shanahan believes the Sept. 22 game against Oakland is a more realistic hope.

Gardener suffered the injury in an early-morning fracas outside an Aurora pancake house July 18.

Second-year pro Monsanto Pope will start in Gardener's place.

TOUGH CHOICES: The somewhat surprising decision to cut running back Cecil Sapp was predicated on the fact that Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns all were ahead of him in single-back sets, Shanahan said. Quentin Griffin might be, too, once he gets in football shape.

The fact that tight end Patrick Hape could play fullback in a pinch also factored in to the call to only keep four running backs.

Nevertheless, Sapp is expected to return to Denver's practice squad today, provided he clears waivers. Other candidates include defensive end Aaron Hunt, wide receivers Nate Jackson and Charlie Adams and center Chris Watton.

COMEBACK TRAIL: Griffin believes he'll be ready to play in games "pretty soon," possibly even by the season opener. The latter goal might be stretching things.

Griffin is cutting on the leg but admitted he experienced soreness in his first couple of practices last week after returning from a broken fibula. Shanahan said Sunday the back "is not in football shape."

DOUBLE DUTY: Jimmy Spencer made the final roster at cornerback, completing his bid to become the first player/coach in the league since Dan Reeves in 1970-71.

"It's a great accomplishment," Spencer said. "I just want to thank God for opening the doors to allow me to be able to do that. My thing was to do the best job I could do as a player and coach and let things fall as they may. And I didn't have time to worry about it because I've been so busy. That really helped."

ETC.: Only half the 10-man draft class ended up on the active roster. Two players were cut - fifth-round pick Ben Claxton and sixth-round pick Hunt - and three more landed on injured reserve: seventh-round picks Ahmaad Galloway (knee) and Clint Mitchell (thumb) and fourth-round pick Nick Eason (Achilles' tendon) . . . Danny Kanell won the third-string quarterback job over Jarious Jackson because he was the most consistent, according to Shanahan. "Jarious has got a lot of athletic ability and in the right situation and right opportunity it wouldn't surprise me if he stays in the NFL for a long time," the coach said . . . Broncos coaches began preparation last Wednesday for the season opener.

:cry: :cry: :cry:

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If he were healthy (back), I'd have invested some big dollar$ into that man without even blinking an eye. Last year's defense was greatly affected in very positive ways by his presence (I've rarely seen one man make such a big impact on the overall performance of a defensive unit as did Gardener........it was like jekyll and hyde). I don't think one ever completely recovers from back problems, so I think the Skins made the right move, however, he will be missed I'm sure.

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for once I think the Skins passed up the obvious move (to resign Gardener with all the baggage of injuries, etc.) and make the tougher, but in the long run better decision for the club.

we have some big money contracts out there that need to be reworked and we need to get Bailey's extension done as well.

no time to waste with a guy whose back could go out at any time and whose judgment appears to be spotty.

how stupid would you feel right now if the Skins had given him his money and then he ended up sitting out because of punching a guy in an IHOPS? :mad:

man, you're almost 31 years old, GROW UP :D

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I don't know. Since Wuerffel was only signed onto the roster a few weeks ago and only saw action at the butt end of games with second and third teamers on the field, I don't see where his presence as an active participant on the 2003 club was anticipated :laugh:

As to Watson, there are those here that are pro-Watson or pro-Betts and either camp believes they have the guy that is the next 1,000 yard back for the team.

My belief? Canidate will either prove himself to be the #1 back or will give way to Betts.

Ultimately if that happens the Skins will be looking for another starting back in the draft or FA in 2004.

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