ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Hang in there, De’Vante Bausby.
After nearly 11 consecutive months of playing football, vacation is almost here.
“My body’s young, so I’m fresh,’’ he said.
It helps that Bausby is getting the first chance to replace Chris Harris Jr. at cornerback. After playing for the Philadelphia Eagles all season – either on their practice squad or on their game day roster for six consecutive weeks through December 23 - Bausby was cut before the final game of the regular season, then caught on with Alliance of American Football.
He played eight games for San Antonio, played really well, and when the AAF went belly up, Bausby quickly signed up with the Broncos. He had previously played for Broncos head coach Vic Fangio and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell when they were all with the Chicago Bears.
Bausby, 26 and with his sixth professional team since he was an undrafted rookie in 2015, appeared to be a longshot of making the Broncos’ roster when he signed his one-year deal. But Harris has skipped the team’s offseason program to protest his contract, another cornerback, Isaac Yiadom, is not all the way back from shoulder surgery, and another cornerback, Kareem Jackson has been playing safety.
Bausby has been lining up at left cornerback and Bryce Callahan at right corner.
“I wouldn’t read too much into anything as far as who’s playing when and where and all that,’’ Fangio said. “But he’s going to be competing to make a spot on this team.”
Indeed, Yiadom is on the mend and the plan, at least for now, is to work out a new contract agreement with Harris. So Bausby’s time with the No. 1 defense may be temporary.
Still, Bausby is getting a much stronger offseason audition than he could have hoped.
“The competition is serious, the guys that are here and we’re trying to take advantage of the opportunity,’’ Bausby said. “I’m familiar with the system from my days in Chicago with Fangio and Donatell. So I’m out there and trying to take advantage of it.’’
Going directly from the Eagles to San Antonio to the Broncos has its pros and cons.
“I think there’s been a time or two in Phase Two (of OTAs) where he’s let the back-to-back season, albeit shortened, give him a reason to think he’s tired to where he shouldn’t do that,’’ Fangio said. “He has to overcome that. He has to overcome being his own worst enemy and show the player that he can be.”
“Our first minicamp (in mid-April) I was in game form,’’ Bausby said. “It was only like a week or two off from playing in a game. I was in game form then and I’m in game form now so that definitely was an advantage. That and knowing the playbook.’’
The Broncos have two more OTA practices this week, three more next week, and then finish up with a three-day mandatory minicamp June 4-6.
And then, Bausby can rest.
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