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Uncertainty on Todd Davis' return has Broncos looking for linebacker help

The Broncos' leading tackler has been out with partially-torn calf since Day 1 of training camp.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis (51) takes the field prior to an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

LOS ANGELES — The Broncos’ flirtation with veteran inside linebacker Paul Worrilow last week stemmed in part over the team’s concern its leading tackler Todd Davis may not be ready for the start of the season, according to player and team sources.

Davis suffered a partially torn calf on the first day of training camp June 18 and hasn’t practiced since. He seemed to be coming along in his recovery, observing practices for two weeks with plans he could begin light work during the team’s joint practices against the San Francisco 49ers.

But after running one day to test the calf Davis was backed off.

“There was some tightness,’’ Davis told 9NEWS as he walked up the ramp out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. “But the trainers have been doing a good job getting it straight and I feel much better.”

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos inside linebacker Todd Davis (51) takes part in drills during an NFL football organized training activity session at the team's headquarters Monday, May 13, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Broncos held serious discussions with the agents of Worrilow last week, according to sources. Worrilow, though, wanted to play on the East Coast for family reasons and wound up signing with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday. He retired Saturday, at least temporarily, for family reasons.

Davis’ condition is not an injured reserve situation, but initially the plan was for the starting inside linebacker to be ready to play in the September 9 opener against the Oakland Raiders.

Davis was asked Saturday night if it now seems unlikely he will play against the Raiders.

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“If I told you I would have to kill you,’’ Davis joked. “No, let’s just say I’m still hopeful.”

Davis and Josey Jewell are the Broncos’ starting inside linebackers. Davis led the team in tackles in two of the previous three years he replaced Danny Trevathan as a starting inside linebacker.

With Davis sidelined, the Broncos have been giving his training camp practice and preseason reps to first-year player Alexander Johnson and undrafted rookie Josh Watson, who played at Colorado State.

The team is expected to continue to look at bringing in a veteran inside linebacker this week as all 32 NFL teams must trim their rosters from 90 players to 53 by 2 p.m. Saturday.

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