Look who’s back: Ma­son

Line­backer re­turns to bol­ster thin po­si­tion

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nicki Jhab­vala

Af­ter los­ing out­side line­backer Shane Ray to a wrist in­jury for the rest of train­ing camp and likely the first two weeks of the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Bron­cos brought back Danny Ma­son on a one-year con­tract for depth and com­pe­ti­tion. To clear a ros­ter spot for Ma­son, the team waived tight end Henry Krieger-coble.

Ma­son, 26, was signed to a fu­tures con­tract with the Bron­cos in Jan­uary 2015. He was re­leased in early Septem­ber that year but was re­signed to the prac­tice squad less than a week later. On Sept. 29, the Bron­cos let him go and Ma­son latched on with the Bears.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound line­backer has not played in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game and will es­sen­tially be a stop­gap in the wake of mul­ti­ple in­juries to the Bron­cos’ edge rush­ers. Ray’s wrist in­jury, which was sur­gi­cally re­paired Satur­day, fol­lowed a hip in­jury to Shaquil Bar­rett suf­fered dur­ing or­ga­nized team ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Al­though this in­jury is un­for­tu­nate, it hasn’t bro­ken my will to be great,” Ray tweeted Satur­day. “I’ll just have to fig­ure out how to win with one arm.”

Coach Vance Joseph said Ray is ex­pected to miss six to eight weeks and likely will re­turn around the time of the Bron­cos’ Week 2 home game against the Cow­boys on Sept. 17. That also is when Bar­rett, who was placed on the non­foot­ball in­jury list, is ex­pected to be back.

In Ray’s place, free-agent ac­qui­si­tion Kasim Ede­bali will move up as a starter on the edge op­po­site all-pro Von Miller, and Von­tar­rius Dora, Ma­son and un­drafted rook­ies Ken Ekanem and Deon Hollins will serve as their back­ups.

“We signed Ede­bali be­cause he is a re­lent­less rusher,” Joseph said. “So far, he’s showed that. He’s a hard worker and he’s a hard body. Un­til Shane and Shaq are back, he’ll be fine. He was signed be­cause he could rush the passer. So that’s what those guys do for a liv­ing. We feel good about him.”

With the Bron­cos’ line­backer corps thin through­out camp, Joseph said he likely will limit Miller’s pre­sea­son reps to keep him fresh for the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“We brought Ma­son in. That pro­vides depth so we don’t burn Von out,” Joseph said. “That’s im­por­tant now. We’re down to Von, with no Shane and no Shaq. Be­ing smart with Von is a pri­or­ity.”

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