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Why Denver Broncos took Montee Ball over Eddie Lacy

NFL.com's Albert Breer confirmed in a piece published Tuesday that Green Bay Packers second-round running back Eddie Lacy slipped in the 2013 NFL Draft because clubs were "nervous about his medicals."

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Although a knee injury and torn pectoral muscle kept Lacy from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine, it's the 2012 turf toe injury that had teams questioning whether he would enjoy a long NFL career.

We already knew the Pittsburgh Steelers "would not touch" Lacy due to the toe fusion surgery. In a Tuesday conference call with season ticket holders, director of player personnel Matt Russell revealed that the Denver Broncos chose Montee Ball over Lacy due in part to the toe injury.

"We liked both these backs," Russell said. "We were worried about a toe injury that (Lacy) had." Russell specifically mentioned concerns about the length of Lacy's playing career while suggesting the toe was indeed the reason for the bruising back's draft-day free fall.

The Broncos believe they have a "gem" in Ball, with executive vice president of football operations John Elway invoking comparisons to 1998 NFL Most Valuable Player Terrell Davis.

Time will tell if Elway made the right call. Lacy insists he will be ready to play Week 1 at the San Francisco 49ers. With a clear road to the bell-cow role in Green Bay's offense, he's a good bet to outproduce Ball as a rookie. The question is whether that toe fusion surgery comes back to haunt him in subsequent years.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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