Two days after the Jacksonville Jaguars released defensive end Jeremy Mincey in December, the Denver Broncos came calling.
Defensive end Derek Wolfe was hospitalized for seizure-like symptoms, so Denver needed to add depth at the position.
Mincey, who played six seasons in Jacksonville, was going to be reunited with former teammate Terrance Knighton and former Jags head coach Jack Del Rio, who now runs the Broncos defense.
“I have a good relationship with coach Del Rio,” Mincey told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview. “He was one of the guys that basically raised me in the football world. I was on his practice squad and he gave me a shot at the roster. I made the best of every chance I got and still doing so.
“He’s a resilient guy and went through a lot in Jacksonville as well as I so of course we can both understand the situation.”
As reports ran rampant about Mincey being late for team meetings, head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell decided to part ways.
“I was going through a lot in Jacksonville,” Mincey said. “For some odd reason, I felt something special was going to come out of it. You know, one mess up here and one mess up there and things just piled up, which were completely uncharacteristic of me. I’m the type that shows up early and does things right. That’s what I’m known for and that’s why I got a second opportunity to come to Denver because somebody actually knew me.”
Del Rio embraced Mincey and the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder was immediately plugged into action. While defensive ends Shaun Phillips and Malik Jackson have been able to create a consistent pass rush, Mincey and Robert Ayers have been viable options to rotate in.
“It’s a special group,” Mincey said of the Broncos’ pass rushers. “We don’t have 20 Von Millers but we have a bunch of guys who work hard and believe in winning and playing together. There’s a lot of pride putting on that orange and blue. It’s like I’ve been with these guys all season.”
Mincey, 30, began the season on one of the league’s worst teams and is now poised to earn a Super Bowl XLVIII ring on Sunday.
“A lot of guys don’t get this chance,” Mincey said. “I’m going to embrace it and not take it for granted.”