ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With free agency looming,
He recognized the opportunity ahead of him as one of 10 Broncos set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he wasn't exactly looking forward to worrying about the free agent market and starting over "basically from ground zero" with a new team.
“I made sure I slept well on the nights prior to tonight," he said.
But Bruton never had to worry about getting to know a new team. On Monday, a little more than 24 hours from the start of the free agency period, he and the Broncos agreed to terms on a new three-year deal to keep the safety in Denver.
"I’m able to sleep easier not having to worry about where I could potentially go and places I could end up," he said. "I'm just truly blessed to be able to stay in one place."
In his four seasons with the team, Bruton's greatest contributions have come on special teams. His 32 special-teams tackles over the last three seasons are the second-most on the team, and he was named a third alternate for the AFC's 2013 Pro Bowl roster as a special-teamer.
Even at Notre Dame, Bruton was known for his special teams prowess. It got to the point where his coaches didn't want to take him off of special-teams units even after he earned a starting job as a junior. The fact that it has carried over to the NFL hasn't surprised the safety.
"It's always been part of my DNA, I guess, just to go out there and take pride in special teams," Bruton said. "That's been my opportunity to get on the field in the first place and to continue to be in the league."
Bruton said he believes that the Broncos wanted him back because of his ability on special teams, but he has also filled in on defense. He started the club's 2011 regular-season finale and both playoff games that year at safety.
"I feel like they have unwavering faith that I can go out there and play no matter what the situation is," he said.
He hopes to continue to earn that faith over the next three seasons for a city and an organization he "fell in love with" as a rookie.
And he thinks 2013 could be a special year.
“You always want to be on a winning team," he said of re-signing with Denver. "We have had two consecutive seasons where we made the playoffs and I was able to experience that. I love the taste, but also have that foul taste that we didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. I feel as though the opportunity to make it there was a lot stronger here."
"Next year should be our year.”