DENVER – There aren’t many outposts left in the NFL where the fullback is a prominent part of the offense. Denver could be one, depending on how the Broncos’ evolving ground game develops.
But at minimum, the fact that the Broncos led the league in rushing last year indicates a commitment to the run, even though they decided they could play their two playoff games without a true fullback among their active 46-man game-day roster.
“They were killing it running the ball. There wasn’t much of a need to rely on anything else,” Sylvester said on Jan. 2. “(Most) everybody wants to pass first in this league, but it’s like anything else, when you go back to the ground zero rules of football: if you control the ground, you can control everything. You can do whatever you want from that point.
“I feel like this is the place to be for me.”
The Broncos waived Sylvester 11 days later when they needed to clear a roster spot for long snapper David Binn, who made a one-game fill-in cameo after regular snapper Lonie Paxton had to tend to a family emergency.
Wednesday, they brought Sylvester back.
He becomes the only fullback under contract for 2012 on the current roster, since Spencer Larsen is due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13.
“Hopefully I can stick around here as long as possible because I really like it here,” Sylvester said during his last Broncos stint. “It’s whatever they’re willing to do, wherever direction we’re going in, I’m prepared for whatever.”
Sylvester only had one tryout during the regular season — an audition for the Buccaneers that resulted in a two-week stint on their practice squad before he was released again.
When he wasn’t with the Bucs or Broncos, Sylvester spent the season working out at Next Level Sports Performance in nearby Golden, Colo.
By Christmas, he had accepted that he wouldn’t receive another NFL contract until the season ended and someone signed him to a reserve-future deal. Then the Broncos called.
“I was kind of caught off-guard,” Sylvester said in January. “It was the day after Christmas — which happens to be my mom’s birthday — and I was talking to my mom to wish her a happy birthday, and then all of a sudden I switch over to the line and it’s (Broncos assistant director of pro personnel) Champ Kelly on the line.”