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Publish Date: 4/5/2005

Broncos defensive lineman Trevor Pryce believes his chances of returning next season are growing.Times-Call/file photo

Pryce’s return is probable
Bronco expectiong decision next week

ENGLEWOOD — Trevor Pryce’s future remains in limbo.

The Denver Broncos defensive end doesn’t know if he’ll stick with the team, get traded or be released.

But Pryce showed up for the offseason conditioning program Monday at Dove Valley. He wasn’t going to allow the uncertainty surrounding his status to keep him away from his teammates.

“My contract still says Broncos,” said Pryce, now sporting a Mohawk-type haircut. “It still says show up (Monday). So that’s what I did. I have no idea what’s going on.”

If Pryce were a betting man, he’d say he’s going to remain with the Broncos. He’s had productive chats with coach Mike Shanahan, and he’s pleased with the direction of the conversations.

“There’s a great chance I’ll be here,” Pryce said. “The odds of me staying are between 50 and 100 percent.”

Pryce’s price tag remains a huge hurdle to clear. If he sticks with the team, his $9 million salary would count against the cap. That leaves almost no money to sign upcoming draft picks.

That’s why the Broncos want to restructure Pryce’s deal. The concept appeals to Pryce.

“Pay me now, pay me later, who cares?” Pryce said. “I’m not in a situation where I need the Broncos to give me a bunch of money right now.”

A salary cut wouldn’t be totally out of the realm of possibility, either. He and his agent, Peter Schaffer, have listened to the Broncos’ proposals. However, they’re not ready to talk openly about what financial terms those proposals include.

“I don’t want to give away too much too soon,” Pryce said with a smile.

Pryce expects a resolution in the near future. It won’t drag on much longer.

“By next week we’ll know,” Pryce said. “But I also thought Michigan State was going to win (the NCAA basketball championship). So don’t take nothing I say as law.”

Pryce has something to prove this year. He played in parts of two games due to a pinched nerve in his back, and he wants to make up for lost time. He claims his back, thanks to acupuncture, has never felt better.

“The year I was supposed to have last year is the year I’ll have this year because I do feel younger than I have felt in a very long time,” Pryce said. “I feel rejuvenated.”

Pryce has come to terms with the fact he might still be traded. He knows that’s the reality of life in the NFL.

“There have been a lot of great players traded in the modern era,” Pryce said. “Randy Moss got traded. Who trades Randy Moss?”

If he’s outright released, though, he won’t be pleased.

“Boy, that would hurt,” Pryce said. “And I might be released, but I highly doubt it.”

Newly acquired Denver linebacker Ian Gold doesn’t want to see his friend leave town. He’d vote to keep Pryce if anyone would ask him.

“If we can keep Trevor and throw him back in the mix, it will be out of sight,” Gold said.

Should Pryce remain in Denver, the team could have arguably the best defensive front it’s had in years. The Broncos have acquired Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Michael Myers and Ebenezer Ekuban from the Browns during the offseason.

“We have the kind of depth now that we haven’t had since we played in the Super Bowl,” Pryce said.

That’s why he wants to return. The eight-year pro knows he can be a vital contributor. If it turns out to not be in Denver, he’d just like to know his next stop.

“Right now it’s like, ‘Where am I going to play football?’” Pryce said. “Just find me a place to go, so I can put that to rest in my mind.

“Quite honestly, Denver’s my No. 1 choice. Nobody wants to uproot themselves and become a rookie all over again. Besides, I love it here.”

To our readers:
The Daily Times-Call sports staff would like your help on an upcoming project. We'd like to hear how and why football has become an important part of your lives.
We want to hear your favorite memories involving the Broncos, Buffs, Rams and area high-school teams.
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