For some players, a season in NFL Europa accelerates their development. Both Ben Hamilton and Erik Pears became starters along the Broncos’ offensive line just months after completing a spring stint on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
But Europe isn’t the right option for all players — even when they haven’t had much on-field, game-action experience. Such was the case for Andre Hall, a practice-squad running back for the final month of the 2006 season who spent his spring going through workouts and organized team activities.
“We’d rather see him in game action (in the preseason),” Sundquist said. “You would hate to see him get banged up (in Europe).”
Hall’s game-time experience on the NFL level is limited to carries on five consecutive plays in preseason games for the Chicago Bears against San Diego and Cleveland, and three more against San Diego. His final tally: 13 carries for 59 yards — a healthy 4.5-yard average. Many of those yards came behind fellow Bear-turned-Bronco Thump Belton, who served as Hall’s blocking escort throughout last year’s summer work.
“(Sundquist) told me I didn’t need to go to Europe, and it made me feel a little bit better,” Hall said. ” I don’t think I needed to go, to be honest.
“What I need to work on is studying, making sure I know every play, because I won’t get many chances. I have to know the playbook forwards and backwards, and make sure I make something happen when I do get a chance.”
His practice-time performance shows that he’s done just that.
“He showed us great, great ability in nine-on-seven drills during the (2006) season,” Sundquist said. “He’ll get an opportunity to play this preseason.”