The Denver Broncos started their on the field portion of the OTAs (Offseason Training Activities) on Monday, and while attendance is not mandatory, it is expected that most players will be on hand. Voluntary or not, coaches do take note of who is there and more importantly who is not.
Running back Willis McGahee was not on hand for Monday’s workout, but that’s not unusual. McGahee has always worked out on his own and has rarely attended any offseason related activities that were not mandatory. His agent said on Monday that McGahee is just following his normal offseason routine, and he is not sitting out because he is upset over his contract or the Broncos drafting of Montee Ball.
I understand it is McGahee’s routine, but he needs to change his routine if he wants to be a Bronco in 2013 and get to Denver right now.
If everything goes according to plan in mini-camps and training camp, then the running back position will be held down by the duo of Ball and Ronnie Hillman. The Broncos would never say that publicly, but they want Ball/Hillman to be the 1-2 punch heading into the 2013 season. They especially want Ball to win the starting job and are going to give him every opportunity to do so.
If Ball does win the job, then McGahee is all but gone. The Broncos are not going to keep an aging running back who is making a decent amount of money to be a backup. Throw in the fact that McGahee is coming off of another knee injury and the writing is on the wall if he does not manage to hold onto the starting job.
Given all of that, the Broncos do not need any more reasons to cut McGahee, but he is giving them one. If he had shown up to these OTAs and proved to the coaches that he was ready to work, then maybe he would have had a chance to retain a spot on the team.
At this point, however, unless Ball is just not ready, McGahee has all but sealed his own fate by not showing up. The Broncos have shown this offseason that everyone from John Elway in the front office to John Fox and the coaches to the players that 2013 is about one thing, winning the Super Bowl. Anyone not on board with that either needs to get out of the way or they will be pushed out of the way.
McGahee may be doing what he has always done in the offseason, but this time it looks selfish and childish. So the Broncos drafted Ball and they want him to be the starter, show some competitive fire and beat him out.
The race for the starting job at running back has begun, and Ball has a big early lead simply because McGahee refuses to get in the starting block.
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