Mike Purcell among those released as Broncos get down to 53 players

Aug 29, 2023, 6:23 PM | Updated: 6:26 pm

Mike Purcell...

(Photo by Andrew Mason /

(Photo by Andrew Mason /

DENVER — When the Broncos practiced at midday Tuesday, it didn’t take Euclid or Pythagoras to know that the Broncos had more players than would remain after the 2 p.m. MDT roster deadline.

And indeed, they made a final flurry of moves that became official at the deadline, releasing nose tackle Mike Purcell and cornerback Fabian Moreau, while waiving wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey and offensive lineman Quinn Bailey. KUSA-Ch. 9’s Mike Klis first reported the moves.

But with some of these moves, it appears as though roster procedure is very much in play. Just after the deadline, general manager George Paton indicated that the team would likely place three players on short-term injured reserve Wednesday.

The Broncos can recall players from short-term IR to the 53-player roster during the season — although they are limited to just eight players returning. And for a player to be eligible for short-term IR, they must be on the roster for one day after the 53-player deadline. Last year, tight end Greg Dulcich and cornerback Michael Ojemudia were those two players.

If the Broncos do this with three players this time, would create three roster spots — which the Broncos could use to restore three released or waived players to the primary roster. This would mimic two moves the Broncos made at this time last year.

“Yeah, we’re working through that. There will be a few of those that you’ll see in the next 24 hours,” Paton said


One of the two players restored to the 53-player roster after one day away last year was Mike Purcell. Along with tight end Eric Tomlinson, he sat released for one day before returning to the roster.

“[Paton] just kind of sat me down,” Purcell noted at the time. “[Paton said], ‘At the end of the day, we kind of need a favor. There are some certain things we have to maneuver, the roster here and there.’”

Paton and the Broncos did right by Purcell and Tomlinson last year. They honored the previous terms of both of their contracts. The Broncos restructured Purcell earlier this year, when he sat on the non-football injury list.

Like Purcell, Bailey, Moreau and Humphrey are vested veterans. Humphrey is in his fourth season; Moreau just completed his sixth year in the NFL

Of Bailey, Broncos coach Sean Payton said Tuesday, “He had a really good camp. We are excited for him.” That would indicate Bailey appears likely to make a quick return.



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Mike Purcell among those released as Broncos get down to 53 players