ENGLEWOOD, CO – May 11: Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Dineen is in the Denver Broncos Rookie Mini Camp at Dove Valley. May 11, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
As a kid growing up in Lawrence, Kan., Joe Dineen attended Kansas’ Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech in January 2008. Starring for the Jayhawks were cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib.
Harris would join the Broncos as an undrafted free agent and become a multi-time All-Pro selection and Talib played four years in Denver and was named to the Pro Bowl each season.
Dineen hopes the Kansas-to-Broncos pipeline includes him.
“KU’s done pretty well here in Denver,” Dineen said after Saturday’s rookie camp practice. “They had Aqib and (linebacker) Steven Johnson here and obviously Chris has balled out since he got here. I want to follow in their footsteps.”
Dineen (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) was not drafted despite leading FBS in solo tackles per game his last two seasons — 7.6 and 9.0, respectively. The Broncos first called his agent during the sixth round of the draft. The disappointment of not being picked had to be erased because teams were reaching out.
“I refocused pretty quickly,” Dineen said. “The Cowboys (offered) and then I got calls from Baltimore and Philadelphia. But Denver was the best fit. I was a huge Peyton Manning fan so I loved the Broncos for about three years so this is a pretty cool spot.”
The Broncos have Todd Davis and Josey Jewell as the base-defense inside linebackers and fifth-round rookie Justin Hollins is working inside in sub-package situations. But if Dineen has a good training camp and excels on special teams, he could wedge his way onto the roster.
“I know I’ll have to compete for a job, but I just feel like, with my skill set, I could bring a lot to this team,” Dineen said.
During the media viewing period on Friday and Saturday, Dineen and fellow inside linebackers Josh Watson and tryout player Chase Hancock have heard a lot from assistant coach Reggie Herring.
“It is (different),” Dineen said with a laugh. “He’s a great coach, though. You have to listen to what he says and not how he says it. I’ve already learned a ton from him in two days.”
Harris contact. A league source confirmed there has been communication between the Broncos and Fred Lyles, the agent for Harris.
Harris, who on April 23 made a pay-him-or-trade-him demand, is seeking an extension that averages $15 million per year. General manager John Elway maintained throughout the offseason that extension talks for any Broncos player would not come until after the draft.
Harris is not expected to be present for the start of organized team activities on Monday. The first time Harris is eligible to be fined is mandatory mini-camp (June 4-6).
“That’s a situation; we think it’s going to unfold in a good way, sooner rather than later,” defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. “It’s just a great time for us to develop some depth. We’re using it as an advantage.”
Nuggets deliver. Coach Vic Fangio’s hint was productive. After Friday’s practice, he predicted a Nuggets Game 7 win over Portland on Sunday but said he wasn’t attending “as of right now.”
The Nuggets came through on Saturday morning, offering Fangio tickets. The Broncos are scheduled to wrap up practice around 12 p.m., 90 minutes before tip-off.
Career fair. The Broncos and Stadium Management Company will host a “Gameday Staff Draft,” at Mile High on June 1 (2-5 p.m.). The fair is an effort to recruit seasonal employees that include ushers, ticket-takers and club/suite level staffs.
Potential candidates are required to pre-register by submitting their application through the following link: dbron.co/guest.