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By LARRY VAUGHT
Changing teams is not something that Jacob Tamme says will provide extra motivation for him going into his fifth National Football League season, but he admits going from Indianapolis to Denver in the offseason has changed his approach to the upcoming season.
“It’s definitely something different because it is all new to me,” said Tamme. “A new place to live, new team, new teammates, new faces. At some point, you do feel that you need to prove yourself all over again to everybody because it is a whole new group of people you have been around.”
Tamme was an all-state football player as well as a baseball and basketball standout at Boyle County High School. Tamme, 27, started 37 games at tight end at the University of Kentucky and had 133 catches for 1,417 yards (10.7 average per catch.) with 11 touchdowns. His 133 receptions ranked first in school history and second in Southeastern Conference records among tight ends.
He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Colts (127th overall pick) in 2008 and his best season came in 2010 when he started eight games and set career highs with 67 catches for 631 yards and four scores. However, last season Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning was injured and did not play and Tamme caught only 19 passes. Manning signed a free-agent offer with the Broncos after the season ended and Tamme inked his own three-year, $9-million deal in March with the Broncos to rejoin Manning.
“We’ll be able to do a lot of things offensively and hopefully it will be similar to the tight end getting the ball in Indianapolis. As a group of tight ends, I think we’re all ready to do whatever we need to do to get the football and win games,” Tamme said. “I know I am excited. I really feel like this is a new opportunity for me. All you can ask for in life or the NFL is an opportunity to succeed, and I have that. That’s all I can ask for or expect. Now it is up to me.”
Tamme and his wife, Allison, found a home to rent in Denver and he says they are about “settled in” as the start of preseason training camp approaches. He’s spent time on vacation with his family and his wife’s family recently and will host his Swings for Soldiers, an annual golf scramble to raise money for Homes for Our Troops, Monday in Lexington. Shortly after that, it will be time to start the season.
“Working out on your own is always part of my job. It was nice to get away a bit and I love being with my family and Allison’s family,” Tamme said. “It’s going to be an interesting next few days, but starting on (July) 25th it’s back to football business and I’m really excited about that.”
One of his new teammates is former UK teammate Wesley Woodyard, who signed as a free agent in 2008 after going undrafted and started at linebacker last year.
“I know we have a tremendous fan base here in Denver, but I really have not had enough time to be out around the fans much yet,” Tamme said. “I know Wes is very well liked in the locker room and I am pretty sure he has really endeared himself to the fans from all I hear. He’s not changed his personality from Kentucky, so it’s impossible not to like him or appreciate the way he plays. I know I’m glad to be on his team again.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Wesley Woodyard is gearing up for a bigger role than ever with the Denver Broncos.
The fifth-year pro is coming off a year in which he piled up career highs in tackles (97), starts (seven) and forced fumbles (two) while replacing middle linebacker Joe Mays on passing downs and making spot starts at weakside linebacker for D.J. Williams.
Williams, who led the team in tackles after missing the first three games with an elbow injury, is facing a six-game drug suspension to start the 2012 season. He also has an Aug. 15 trial on misdemeanor driving under the influence and traffic charges.
Williams’ troubles might give Woodyard the chance to have much more than a rotational role in Denver’s 4-3 scheme next season, especially early on.
Woodyard, whose role has increased every year in Denver since the Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky in 2008, parlayed his outstanding 2011 season into a two-year, $3.5 million contract over the winter.
That may not be starter’s money in today’s NFL, but Woodyard indicated Tuesday after the team’s latest voluntary practice that he has his sights set on joining Mays and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller atop the Broncos’ depth chart at linebacker.
“Everybody wants to be a starter,” Woodyard said. “This year it’s going to be an open competition once we start summer camp, so I feel like my options are open everywhere that I would have (gone).”
Woodyard was the starter on the weak side during an open practice Monday, when Williams was absent from the start of four days of voluntary on-field workouts.
Woodyard said Williams’ off-field issues aren’t something that he ponders.
“No, man, we don’t talk about that. That’s his issues. I’ve just got to be ready whenever I’m called to be on the field,” Woodyard said. “It’s out of my hands. I’ve just got to be the next guy to step up and if I get a chance to compete for that starting spot during summer camp, I’m definitely going to do it.”
Williams is suing the NFL, seeking to overturn his drug suspension without pay. The lawsuit contends that the league violated protocol in collecting urine samples.
Woodyard said he wasn’t bothered when the Broncos drafted another quick and undersized weakside linebacker out of Kentucky in Danny Trevathan in April.
“It’s a great opportunity for both of us,” Woodyard said. “We’ll both compete and I know what type of player he is, coming from a school that I went to. I know he’s going to give it his all every time he steps on the field, so it’s an honor to have a guy like him on our team.”
Woodyard said he’s been counseling Trevathan for years, so it’s not like he’s suddenly sharing the tricks of the trade with him during these offseason workouts.
“He’s kind of like my little brother, but I’m trying to give him the chance to learn the things he can do and that he can’t do before I go in there and try to tell him everything,” Woodyard said. “So, he’s coming along well. I think he’s had like two interceptions throughout these OTAs, so he’s doing pretty good.”
DENVER BRONCOS 2012 NFL DRAFT CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES (4/28/12)
LINEBACKER DANNY TREVATHAN (6th Round No. 188 overall)
On his relationship with Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard
â€œItâ€™s been an honor to see him play. I never had a chance to play with him. I think our football characteristics are similar. I strive [to be] like him, heâ€™s a great leader, I canâ€™t wait to play with him this year.â€
On his contact with the Broncos prior to the draft
â€œThere wasnâ€™t that much, but there was enough to know that they were interested. You never know with the draft. You just have to play your game.”
On not being able to live without â€œhaters,â€ like it says in the University of Kentucky media guide
â€œThey motivate me. Thatâ€™s always going to be in the back of my mind. You have to pay attention to yourself and strive for excellence. In this world they are looking for you to fail. You canâ€™t be one of those dudes that give up when times get hard.â€
On where he sees himself playing
â€œI can see myself playing whatever they need me to play. I played Will and Mike here. I also can play Sam.â€
On his charity work in Ethiopia
â€œIt taught me to not take things for granted. It built into the character I am right now. It helped me learn to take it one day at a time. There will be people that donâ€™t see like you do, but youâ€™ve got to learn how to live. Live your life and not worry about anything else.â€
On what he did in Ethiopia
â€œI did missionary work. I went to the leper colony, I went to the orphanage, I helped build fences for their camp. I just interacted and tried to blend my culture with them.â€