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Thursday Notebook: Darrent Williams Plans on Playing

Posted Nov 9, 2006

In spite of a separated shoulder, Darrent Williams expects to play on Sunday, embracing the notion that injuries are part of life in the NFL and not an excuse.


Top billing doesn't hold much meaning to Rod Smith. The 12-year veteran knows that team success is the ultimate goal. PHOTO: RYAN McKEE / RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES 

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At 5-foot-8, 188-pounds, Darrent Williams might be the smallest guy in the Broncos locker room.

His short stature, however, masks some king-size toughness.

Despite a shoulder separation suffered against the Steelers, Williams expects to suit up Sunday at Oakland.

"I think I can; it'll definitely hurt my tackling ability because I can't really use my left arm that much, but my legs, they're not hurting," he said. "I'll be able to run on anybody. Hopefully I'll get all my motion back and it won't effect me that much."

Williams missed at least part of the team's practice on Wednesday, but fully participated in Thursday's session. Certain motions with his left arm still give the second-year cornerback some discomfort.

"Sometimes when I make certain movements it hurts," he said. "Certain movements I can't do right now. Sunday, I should have everything back, hopefully. I plan on playing on Sunday, so I think I should be alright."

The Broncos as a group refuse to use its recent rash of injuries as an excuse.

"We're not the only team that's hurting in the NFL," Keith Burns said. "A lot of teams have lost guys. We've lost guys. If I'm not (in pain), obviously I haven't done what I'm supposed to do.

"I'm the type of person that goes in there every Sunday and sacrifices my body and throw it around for the victory of the team. But at the same time, if I don't come out feeling a certain way, pain-wise, I don't think that I've done enough."

It's a sentiment echoed by the entire team.

"You don't have that choice (of calling in sick)," Gerard Warren said. "If you can walk and you're capable of running and performing, then you get on the field and play, regardless of the pain."

-- Don Schwartz

WHO'S ON SECOND: While Rod Smith continues to climb the all-time NFL record books, the question gets asked: is Smith still the Broncos' No.1 receiver?

Javon Walker leads the team this season in catches (39), yards (669) and touchdowns (5) among all wideouts.

For the 12th-year pro, the only numbers that matter are the team's six wins.

"Who picks 1 and 2," Smith said. "Is it the guy who catches the most balls, I guess? You know what? That's fine. I was actually considered No. 2 when I played with Ed (McCaffery) and Shannon (Sharpe) as well. But I actually led the team. It's okay to be No. 2, I guess.

"My thing is that it's a football TEAM, and that's the most important thing, is team, and if what you're doing is jeopardizing the team, it doesn't matter how many balls you catch if it's not beneficial to the team, so my thing is that I'm just enjoying it."

Smith has 279 yards receiving on 28 receptions this season, including a pair of touchdowns. He needs just two catches to tie Larry Centers (825) for 11th place for the most receptions in NFL history.

Smith should shine this Sunday if history is proves to be correct. He ranks as the NFL's all-time leading receiver vs. the Raiders, with 1,303 yards on 100 catches, including 10 touchdowns in 23 career regular-season games against the silver and black.

-- Don Schwartz

HIXON'S PRACTICE DEBUT: Domenik Hixon arrived in Denver in May optimistic that he would soon be able to practice after recovering from the broken foot and subsequent surgery that hindered his pre-draft workouts.

"Soon," though, became nearly six months prior to Wednesday, when he went through a full practice for the first time as a pro. But such a lengthy gestation might have been the best thing for the fourth-round pick. He was able to stand back, take the requisite mental repetitions and observe while his ailing foot completely healed.

Was it time well spent? His early instinct says yes; he was "pain-free" during each of his first two practices this week.

"A lot of guys were saying they try to run on it and do things after three months," Hixon said. "They gave me almost seven months to recover, so that's double the time.

"Talking to some people who had this same injury, they said, 'You might feel it a little bit.' But I don't feel anything. It's like it's brand-new."

The Broncos have three weeks to observe Hixon in practice and determine whether he will move to the 53-man roster or be placed back on the reserve list, which would end his season.

-- Andrew Mason

WHIRLWIND AFTERNOON FOR BREWSTER: Tight ends coach Tim Brewster received a bit more media attention that he's used to after Thursday's practice.

The Houston Chronicle reported earlier in the day that Brewster had emerged as a candidate for the head coaching position at Iowa State -- which opened up with yesterday's resignation by long-time Cyclones coach Dan McCarney.

"The only thing I'm interested in is getting ready for the Oakland Raiders," Brewster said when asked about the report. "I haven't been contacted by (Iowa State)."

Though Brewster's focus is solely on this Sunday's rematch with the Raiders, the former University of Texas assistant would consider a return to the collegiate ranks for the right position at the right time.

"I've had a stated goal of wanting to become a head football coach in college," he said. "I would certainly entertain the situation."

-- Don Schwartz

INJURY REPORT: Denver continues to heal its wounds from Sunday's victory against defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh.

Though Darrent Williams returned to practice on Thursday, Patrick Chukwurah (hamstring), Ebenezer Ekuban (thigh) and Ian Gold (hamstring) missed their second consecutive day of practice this week. Each is listed as questionable for Sunday.

Tatum Bell (toe), Nick Ferguson (concussion), Kyle Johnson (ankle), John Lynch (concussion), Rod Smith (shoulder) and Al Wilson (concussion) are also listed as questionable against Oakland, but each has participated in both practices.

Cedric Cobbs (ankle) and Gerard Warren (toe) continue to be listed as probable and have also participated in all practices.

For Oakland, both guard Barry Sims (abdomen) and linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba (foot) sat out practice on Thursday.

-- Don Schwartz