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McGahee Joins Backfield

Posted Jul 31, 2011

On Sunday, the Broncos signed free agent running back Willis McGahee.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos bolstered their backfield Sunday, signing free agent running back Willis McGahee to a four-year deal.

Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said via his Twitter account that McGahee is "a true pro who will help us on the field and in the locker room."

The nine-year pro spent the past four seasons in Baltimore, where he accumulated 2,802 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns on 673 carries, adding 544 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

With the emergence of Ray Rice, McGahee morphed into the Ravens' goal-line back the past two seasons, and he relished the role, finding paydirt 17 times. In fact, since his rookie season, McGahee ranks third in the NFL with 55 rushing touchdowns, behind just LaDainian Tomlinson and Thomas Jones.

In Denver, McGahee -- who will wear No. 23 -- now joins a backfield featuring Knowshon Moreno, LenDale White and Lance Ball -- a group the club hopes can improve on last year's 26th-ranked rushing offense.

The move also means McGahee reunites with his position coach from the start of his career in Buffalo, Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville.

Under Studesville, McGahee rushed for 3,365 yards in his last three seasons with the Bills before being traded to Baltimore.

During the offseason, Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy stressed the importance of a balanced offensive attack, and the addition of another physical running back could help push the team in that direction.

"We need to get back to the old Bronco way of running the football here," he said in May. "With our head coach, John Fox, he is determined to run the ball. When I was in Carolina with him, we had a two-headed monster every week. ... So we will do a great job running the football and get back to the way Terrell (Davis) used to run the ball here."

Along with yesterday's free agent signee David Anderson and Ryan McBean, Matt Prater and Wesley Woodyard, McGahee cannot practice with the club until the start of the new league year -- next Thursday, Aug. 4.