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Football: Stokley likes fit in Denver

Wide receiver says Broncos ‘right situation’

Brandon Stokley loves football.

He must, to endure the painful road back from another injury, and to search for another NFL home after being released on March 2 by the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

"It’s not fun," said Stokley, the former UL Ragin’ Cajun who signed a one-year contract this week with the Denver Broncos. "It’s not fun to go through all the medical stuff, to have X-rays and meet with the coaches when you visit a team.

"And, then, to uproot your family and move to another city. My wife (former UL softball All-American Lana Jimenez) supports me, but it’s hard when you’ve got two kids."

A ruptured Achilles tendon ended Stokley’s 2006 season after playing in just four games. Shoulder and knee injuries preceded that, though, so teams were cautious about signing him. His one-year deal with Denver is incentive driven for that reason.

"My rehab is going well," said Stokley, who is already running on the treadmill. "My main goal is to be on the field for the first game of the season. I don’t know if that will happen or not."

Stokley’s greatest success in Indianapolis came as the slot receiver working with All-Pros Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and that would be his likely role in Denver with Javon Walker and second-year pro Brandon Marshall.

"That’s what I plan on," he said. "That’s my thought process."

Landing in Denver felt comfortable for Stokley, who had earlier visited the New Orleans Saints.

"I think it’s the right situation," Stokley said. "I looked at the training staff they have there, and I know they can help me get back on the field as soon as possible."

Once he gets on the field, Stokley will see an offense different from the Colts – "not a whole lot of teams do what we did in Indianapolis," he said – but one run by a recognized offensive mind in head coach Mike Shanahan.

"Steve Watson picked me up from the airport and we ate lunch together," Stokley said of Denver’s assistant head coach and former receivers coach. "We talked. When you look at the free agents they’ve signed so far, you can see that they want to do what it takes to get back to the Super Bowl.

"They’ve done that every year. That’s what you want to see from a team."

Stokley spent four years each with the Ravens and Colts, winning Super Bowls at each stop. He wants one more chance to be on the field with a winner.