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Knowshon Moreno's journey to become Broncos starter

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Along with Mark Ingram and Donald Brown, Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno has proven this postseason that a running back with a first-round pedigree has more lives than a thrill-seeking cat.

When Around The League asked if pass protections and assignment detail make it more challenging for young running backs to make an immediate contribution in this offense-inflated era, Moreno pointed to injuries and the stiff competition for jobs in the NFL.

"Everyone has their own things that they go through throughout life -- their own journey -- and my journey has been something special," Moreno said. "I learned from every mistake, I learned from all the good times and the bad times, and I just grew from every opportunity I got.

"With me, injuries definitely played a factor not being on the field and not being productive in that matter. I just wanted to get my body back right and make sure I am on the field to help out any way possible."

As the No. 12 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Moreno made an instant impact, starting 22 of his first 29 games. After tearing his ACL in 2011, though, he fell out of favor and tumbled down the depth chart.

The low point of Moreno's five-year career was spending the first half of the 2012 season watching from the sidelines as a healthy game-day inactive.

"Every year is different, you face different adversities. Each year, you've got to compete, also," Moreno said. "You have to battle each day, compete to make yourself better and your team better, and then go from there. You really can't control more than that, than your effort that you give and see where that goes."

Moreno ultimately earned the trust of Peyton Manning and coach John Fox by learning his assignments and being in the right place at the right time.

"(Manning) taught me how to be a professional," Moreno explained. "The guy comes into work every day ready to work; he comes in prepared, he studies, watches film. That rubs off on me, and that's what put us in this position, just to work hard each day and to get better."

Much like Super Bowl counterpart Marshawn Lynch -- who fell out of favor as a highly drafted prospect in Buffalo -- Moreno has taken the long and winding road to the Super Bowl. Is it too much for Colts fans to hope that Trent Richardson might follow the same path over the next couple of seasons?

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