Anunike's return gives Broncos yet another pass-rusher

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos' powerful pass-rush is about to get even better. And deeper.

Kenney Anunike returned to practice this week after recovering from right knee surgery in mid-August and said he's hopeful to play at Detroit on Sunday.

He said he was envious watching the likes of DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett chase down quarterbacks in Denver's 2-0 start and he's eager to join the sacks parade.

''No question. That's what I'm built for is pass rushing and getting after that quarterback,'' Anunike said. ''Standing on the sideline, you can't do much of that. So it felt really good to get back out there with my teammates pass rushing and helping to stop the run.''

Anunike said he was comforted Monday when he felt no pain upon his return to practice.

''Zero pain. That's a huge indicator,'' he said, ''because if you have pain, obviously something's wrong. I had no pain. I was going out there and felt fast, I felt strong, I felt powerful.''

Anunike, an undrafted free agent out of Duke last year, made the 53-man roster this season even though he only played in one preseason game and missed the remainder of training camp after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-August.

He hurt it at practice a couple of days after leading the Broncos with eight tackles, two QB hurries, a sack and a forced fumble in Denver's preseason win at Seattle, after which he called himself ''a menace in the backfield.''

Anunike said he was fortunate it wasn't his left knee that gave out. That one's been operated on three times.

''My other knee is holding up just fine,'' he said. ''That's really positive.''

Anunike said he's counting on not being rusty ''because this game is so mental. So, I'm sitting back and just getting to watch guys that are doing things that I know I can do also. You take what they're doing and then you put your own spin on it. That's how you become a great player.''

Plus, he's fresh and he'll be able to keep his teammates fresher by joining the D-line rotation.

The Broncos have been thin along their D-line with Anunike rehabbing and Derek Wolfe serving a four-game drug suspension, so coach Gary Kubiak was pleased to see Anunike back in action along with outside linebacker Lerentee McCray, who missed most of training camp with a groin injury.

While Kubiak is searching for answers on offense, he has the opposite problem on defense: so much depth he'll have to make tough decisions on game-day deactivations.

''We're really deep on that side of the ball. Derek will be back in two weeks, so that's very encouraging. Kenny was playing really well in preseason. We were counting on him big time. To have him totally healthy and to have McCray totally healthy, now you start to have problems of who you're suiting up,'' Kubiak said. ''That's a nice problem to have.''


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