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Roby leaves Broncos, bypasses Steelers to take 'prove it' deal with Texans

First-round cornerback says he'll miss the city of Denver and Broncos fans
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos defensive back Bradley Roby (29) lines up against the Seattle Seahawks after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

KUSA – Bradley Roby admitted his “contract” year with the Broncos didn’t go as hoped.

He so much believes he could have played better as the Broncos’ No. 2 cornerback in 2018 that he’s willing to go through it again in 2019. Only this time with the Houston Texans.

The now-former Broncos cornerback agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the Texans on Tuesday, turning down a three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers that was worth a tad more than $30 million.

“It’s a prove-it deal, but I’d rather go back in the market and try to get that long one while I’m still young,’’ Roby said in a phone interview Tuesday with 9News. “It was tough to not take that deal from the Steelers for security, but I’m seeing guys getting paid something crazy. I know I should be getting paid that, but I didn’t have the best year last year.’’

He said he was also offered a one-year, $9 million deal by San Francisco and Cleveland was in on him strong for a while, before backing off. The Broncos?

"Nah, they tried to word it nice, but they didn’t offer,’’ he said. “They were talking about it. They said they wanted to wait to hear what I was worth and then try to counter, but they didn’t. They got the guy they wanted (Kareem Jackson).’’

Roby was the Broncos’ first-round draft pick, No. 31 overall, out of Ohio State in the 2014 draft. He immediately became the Broncos’ No. 3 cornerback behind Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. – a role he held for four years until Roby was given a chance to step up and replace the traded Talib in 2018.

His best years were in 2015-16 – the height of Broncos’ vaunted No Fly Zone secondary, as dubbed by Harris. In the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 season of 2015, Roby had a pivotal scoop-and-score of a Jamal Charles fumble to pull out a season-changing win against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He also had a key punchout of the ball against Steelers’ running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ second-round playoff game and the Steelers ahead. DeMarcus Ware recovered the Roby-forced fumble and the Broncos went down for a go-ahead score to win.

The next season, Roby had two, 51-yard pick sixes – one off the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, the other off the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles – that led to wins. But the Broncos failed to make the playoffs in 2016 and fell off drastically in 2017-18.

Roby was inconsistent last season, struggling mightily in a loss against the New York Jets, although he did bounce back to play well in the final weeks of his fifth season in Denver.

“I enjoyed it,’’ Roby said. “I'm glad they reached out and got me in the draft and believed in me. I believed I helped us win the Super Bowl. When I came out we had lost the Super Bowl (to end the 2013 season), and they didn’t have a secondary.

“I came. Talib came. I made some plays. So I definitely think I was there to help win the Super Bowl. We didn't have the best years after that, but I enjoyed it. I'm going to miss the fans, I'll miss Mile High, I’ll miss the city.

“But it's a business. Denver, they didn't want me, they wanted someone else. So, keep moving.’’

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