Catching up with ex-Gator Jarvis Moss

Former Florida defensive lineman Jarvis Moss is ready to make an impact with the Broncos.

The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 12:03 a.m.

DENVER — Long before he felt the pain of a broken right fibula, former Gator Jarvis Moss felt the frustration of being an NFL rookie.

‘‘It was a lot tougher than I expected, to be honest,’’ Moss said. ‘‘Sundays isn’t a time to be uptight. You should be prepared, but it’s fun out there. I like the guys who are out there smiling, and I wasn’t out there smiling. I was all uptight. ‘What’s the next play?’ (and) stuff like that.’’

And then, just when the pass-rushing defensive end felt like he was turning a corner, his season ended on the practice field with the injury after six games.

‘‘I wouldn’t call it great football, but for a rookie I was picking it up,’’ said Moss, the Broncos’ first-round draft choice in 2007. ‘‘I was getting a better feeling for the game and being relaxed out there. I had some good talks with my coaches right before my injury about how I was going to pick it up and start pushing a little harder in practice.’’

He won’t be able to push it hard for another week or two, but Moss was out there knocking off 100-yard sprints last week during the first day of the Broncos’ offseason conditioning program. Afterward, it never felt so good to be so sore.

‘‘After I work it really good, it’s obviously sore, but no pain,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m excited. I’m a little tired, but I’m happy I can even run and go get tired. Hopefully, we can look at it like I wasn’t ever injured.’’

The Broncos would have preferred that Moss had stayed healthy and move into the starting lineup next season. But after a rookie year in which he started one game — his season stat line reads 12 tackles and a sack — only time will tell if it happens.

‘‘Definitely, I think it will happen,’’ Moss said. ‘‘Who knows when? We’ll see how I do in camp as far as my ankle goes, but that’s something I’m going to work myself into. And if not, as long as I’m contributing in a positive manner and playing up to my potential, it’s not something that really bothers me.’’

While his status on the depth chart is in question, Moss knows he and the other young defensive linemen on the roster are huge parts of the Broncos’ future. On the list are Moss, Elvis Dumervil from Louisville and two other 2007 draftees, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, also from Florida, and defensive end Tim Crowder from Texas.

If they turn into players, the Broncos’ defense could be solidified for years to come. If not, it could set the franchise back for years to come.

‘‘It’s a real key,’’ Moss said. ‘‘We talk all the time. I talk to Dumervil often. We talk about being leaders. We’re young guys, but still coming to work showing we’re leaders, the way we’re working and the way we carry ourselves around here. We’re going to do everything together as a D-line starting today and throughout the season.’’

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