Broncos add depth at OT by signing Winston Justice
Justice worked out for the Broncos earlier on Wednesday, before Clady was placed on the IR. Clady suffered the injury after New York Giants defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins rolled up on him while the Broncos were trying to run out the clock in their Week 2 win. Broncos spent much of Tuesday working Clady through several exams. But after it became evident that Clady will require season-ending surgery to repair Lisfranc joint tear in his left foot, the team brought in Justice.
A second-round pick out of USC in 2006, Justice spent his first six-seasons in Philadelphia, before being traded to the Indianapolis Colts for draft picks last year. Justice started 12 games for the Colts but was benched in the playoffs and was not re-signed. For his career, Justice started 43 games, including one start at left tackle.
But with Clady out, Broncos offensive line coach Dave Magazu said fifth-year pro Chris Clark will replace him as Peyton Manning’s blindside protector. Justice is expected to add depth behind Clark.
“You’re not going to replace him, but Clark did a great job all spring and in the preseason, so he’s had plenty of work,” Magazu said. “It’s not like he’s going in unprepared or not knowing what’s going on. So everybody should feel comfortable [and] go with the mentality next guy up and let’s go to work.”
Since being selected in the first-round of the 2008 NFL draft out of Boise State, Clady has been the mainstay at the left side of the Broncos’ offensive line. Clady has started 82 consecutive games for the Broncos, before going down in Week 2 with a foot injury this season. The three-time Pro Bowler had signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract with the Broncos just before training camp.
Now, Clark will start in Clady’s spot, when the Broncos host the Oakland Raiders Monday night. It will be Clark’s first career start at left tackle.
"Stepping up into a role like this, it's not going to be hard for me to adjust,'' said Clark, who also signed a two-year extension with the Broncos on Monday. “It's not about filling a guy's shoes for me. It's about me creating my legacy, just helping the team the best way I can and doing my job.''