Brandon Stokley knew he had more in him.
Since his last stint with the Broncos, he spent time with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 and New York Giants in 2011, playing in just two games last season before suffering an injury.
But the 14th-year veteran didn’t contemplate retirement.
“I wasn’t really ready to be done — I still feel like I can play,” he said. “For me, it was just all about trying to get that opportunity somewhere.”
The Broncos provided that opportunity, and it’s one Stokley won’t take for granted.
Not only does he get a chance to prove he still has it, but his return to the Broncos means a reunion with a former teammate — quarterback Peyton Manning.
“I didn’t ever think I would have another chance to play with him,” Stokley said. “When you’re there (in Indianapolis), I was there with him for four years. I don’t want to say you kind of take him for granted, but then you move on and you kind of realize what you had. You kind of always hope that you’ll get that chance again. For me, it’s been great. To me, I think he’s the best to ever play the position. So to have another chance to play with somebody like that is pretty special.”
Stokley and Manning were together in Indianapolis from 2003 to 2006 before the receiver headed to Denver in 2007.
Stokley said he doesn’t see much difference in the way Manning is delivering the ball now than when he was in Indianapolis — something that he believes will benefit everyone on the team, but Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas in particular.
“The last time I saw them, they were both rookies, young pups,” Stokley said. “Now you can definitely tell that they’ve both grown up and have taken on the leadership role. It is their receiver group, it’s their chance to do something special. They’re playing with a guy that can get them the ball. I’ve seen him help a lot of people’s careers. I think he can do that for both of those guys.”
Stokley said he is healthy and feels “100 percent.” Now he’s focused on being a Bronco again.
“It’s great,” he said. “I’m having a blast, just enjoying the moment. I’m glad to have a chance to play football again.”
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