The big debate in the Denver Broncos locker room is about whether 350ish-pound nose tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton can really dunk a basketball like he claims.
Standing under the basket. Flat footed. Vertical leap. No running start.
Players are taking sides and planning to head to the hardwood after the season is over — which they hope won't be until February, of course. Knighton said he looks forward to proving his doubters wrong, especially those urging him to, as the saying goes, "put your money where your mouth is."
Tight end Julius Thomas, a power forward in college, doesn't see how Knighton could possibly jump that high.
"I'm one of the strongest opponents of believing he can dunk," Thomas said. "I told T-Knight, 'Man, if you can dunk, I'll take all the chagrin, you know, you've earned it at that point. But I can't just take you on your word for that.'"
Thomas said he needs somebody with a better understanding of physics to explain to him "how much force would go into the ground to get a man like that to dunk."
"Six-three, 340? That's not going to be easy. Standing 'vert' dunk? I've seen a lot more spryer men try and fail," Thomas said.
Running back C.J. Anderson is a believer — he said he's seen him do it.
And he said all the naysayers need to do is look at how Knighton has used his uncommonly long arms to swat two passes that helped the Broncos sweep the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
"I've played basketball with him," Anderson said. "He's super athletic for the size he is. So, when he jumps up and tips passes and makes plays, it doesn't surprise me because I know how athletic he really is. He doesn't have to jump too high. He's super-long and you can tell just watching him in the trenches. He makes things happen on his own."
Thanks in large part to the jelly-belly Knighton, the Broncos are second in the league against the run, but Knighton has also done his share of disrupting passing games. Last week at Kansas City, he reached high to deflect Alex Smith's throw and teammate DeMarcus Ware came down with the interception.
Knighton, of course, called it an "alley-oop."
Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio wouldn't bet against Knighton being able to slam a basketball through the standard 10-foot hoop.
"He's an athlete," Del Rio said. "I mean, he's a former wide receiver. He's got good hands. He's got good feet. I would say he can dunk. Listen, I played The Fridge. William "The Refrigerator" Perry and I were Lombardi finalists, and I watched him dunk. And he was big like that. So, I know Terrance is the same type of athlete, probably a little more athletic than The Fridge was but powerful like that.
"So, I would say he absolutely can dunk. You don't think a big guy like that can get off the ground, but I would bet he can, from having seen another bigger guy like that do it."
Thomas will have to see it to believe it.
"I'm looking forward to finding out, though," Thomas said. "After the season, we're going to get to the bottom of this."
Notes: Knighton was limited Thursday with a sore elbow. ... The Broncos signed K Brandon McManus to their practice squad and released DE Gerald Rivers. McManus could end up being a kickoff specialist in Denver, where he had the second-most touchbacks (48) in the NFL before being replaced by Connor Barth last week. While Barth was 5-for-5 on FGs Sunday, none of his eight kickoffs were touchbacks and the Chiefs averaged 25 yards per return. ... WR Cody Latimer left Thursday's practice with concussion symptoms. ... WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle) didn't practice but did observe from the sideline, a sign that his injury isn't too serious.
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