Pittman focused on winning starting job with Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Michael Pittman insists he can still do it all on the football field, first impressions not withstanding.

The 11th-year running back fumbled his first carry in a Denver Broncos uniform Wednesday after signing a one-year deal that will pay him $830,000 if he makes the 53-man roster.


Former Buccaneer Michael Pittman made clear he wants to start with the Broncos. He's not alone. Travis Henry has designs on regaining the starting job, while second-year player Selvin Young is also eyeing the top spot. Take a look at their 2007 stats:

Michael Pittman, RB
Carries: 68

Rushing yards: 286

TDs: 0

Travis Henry, RB
Carries: 167

Rushing yards: 691

TDs: 4

Selvin Young, RB
Carries: 140

Rushing yards: 729

TDs: 1

"I came out here and I'm trying to impress the coaches. On my first carry, I dropped the ball. It was a fumble because our zone play at Tampa was a little wider than Denver's zone play. It is an adjustment for me. I will adjust and I won't put the ball on the ground again," Pittman promised.

"I'm here to make a lot of noise. I didn't come in here for three, four, five weeks to be in camp to get cut. I'm here to make a lot of noise and make this team."

Pittman said he'll do exactly what he did for six seasons in Tampa: take handoffs, lead block, catch passes, return punts and kicks.

"I will do whatever I am asked to do. I'll play receiver, I'll play running back, I'll play fullback. I did all that at Tampa," he said. "It's all about helping the team win. If the coach wants me to return punts, I'll return punts. If he wants me to be a receiver or a fullback or whatever. I'm here to make plays."

The Broncos' running game is full of uncertainty right now because Travis Henry, who was bumped by rookie Selvin Young as the starter by season's end last year, hasn't been able to participate in the team's camp because of a pulled hamstring. Coach Mike Shanahan said he hopes Henry can return to offseason practices next week.

Although he's been a career backup, Pittman declared Wednesday: "I'm not here to be a backup."

"But at the same time I'll play my role. I'm not saying I'm here to take over anything. I'm here to help. I'm going to compete like everybody else," he said. "You play this game for a reason. It's to compete and win championships. That's what has kept me in the league for 10 years. If I start, that's a great thing, but if not I'll play the role as a backup."

Pittman said coach Mike Shanahan didn't ask him about his history of domestic disputes in Tampa.

"No. It's a long time ago. You live and learn. I learned from my mistakes. I moved on from that. I'm still married to the same woman and those instances are way in the past. They are in the past and they're going to stay in the past," Pittman said. "I'm way more mature. I'm 32. I'm a man. Back then I wasn't thinking right. I didn't have my priorities straight. Now I do."

And he said he's healthy again after missing several weeks last year with a high ankle sprain.

"Last year was the first time I missed a game due to injury. That is from working out so hard. I am a durable type player," he said. "I'm ready to start a new era in Denver.

"I'm just going to fit in wherever I fit in. I'm not here to take over and say, 'I'm the man, now.' I'm going to play hard and I'm going to work my best. I'm just going to play my role, whatever it is."

To make room for him on the roster, the Broncos waived fourth-year safety Marviel Underwood.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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