When the Broncos open the season Monday night against Tennessee, kicker Brandon McManus will be the only remaining player from the team’s 2015 Super Bowl champion in uniform.
Inside linebacker Todd Davis was released Sept. 4 and outside linebacker Von Miller sustained an ankle injury in practice last Tuesday and won’t play.
That leaves McManus, who was acquired from the New York Giants on Aug. 26, 2014, and has appeared in all 99 regular season/playoff games since.
McManus was scheduled to hit free agency next March, but he and the Broncos agreed to a four-year contract extension late Friday night that will take him through the 2024 season.
During a phone interview last month, McManus said a video sent to him by Miller during the offseason resonated.
“It was about how pressure is privilege and in kicking, nothing is more true because there are only 31 (other) kickers in the world who do my job and obviously people are out there who can do it, but only 32 are employed,” he said. “I love the fact I’m in that class and play at a high level and continue to put pressure on myself to make big kicks.
“We’re a pretty expendable position because you get on a missing streak, you’ll be cut easily.”
McManus’ new contract could mean he spends his entire career with one franchise. He owns the Broncos’ second-highest field goal rate (regular season and playoffs) at 82.5% (161-of-193). He was 29-of-34 on field goals last year and his misses came from 64, 54, 43, 45 and 57 yards.
“It sounds like I’m on repeat, but I still want to get better on the 50-yard kicks,” he said. “The year before, I made everything under 50 (18-of-18). Obviously, they trust me to attempt these (long) field goals and I love that … and it’s something I need to trick my brain into knowing I have the leg strength, but making sure I’m still swinging the same swing as under 50. That’s what I’ll be grinding on and harping on.”
Another part of the training camp grind for McManus was working with a new long snapper, Jacob Bobenmoyer, and holder, punter Sam Martin. After Martin signed, McManus traveled to Martin’s home in Palm Beach, Fla., for training sessions.
“It’s good to at least go through the elementary stuff of how I like the ball leaned and what he’s seeing and what I’m seeing in certain situations,” McManus said.
Overall, McManus’ offseason training wasn’t greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Usually, I take a long break and probably kick the least in the league and would still be ramping up around April 20 when we would have reported (for the offseason program),” he said. “With everything being cancelled, I didn’t start kicking until June 1 and I probably kicked three or four times before we reported, which isn’t much different than usual.”
The first part of McManus’ offseason was spent serving as the Broncos’ player representative during the collective bargaining agreement.
“The first year I was the rep, there wasn’t much action,” he said. “And then coming into this year, with the CBA, it was very interesting to go through that and the meetings and the dialogue between the player reps. It was truly a blast to be a union rep this year.”