ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --You can call it a comeback, even though Danny Trevathan has been here for years.
When team-organized workouts began Monday, the fourth-year linebacker was right there with his fellow Broncos, lifting, pulling, lunging and running. No one was happier for the chance to start anew after a 2014 season wrecked by three injuries around the knee -- two bone fractures and finally, on Dec. 14, a disclocated kneecap that dealt a knockout blow to a season in which he played just three games.
"It's doing good, man," he said after his workout Thursday. "I feel like last year was a setback, but this year is a big comeback for me. They've been doing a good job in the treatment room with me, and I've just been pushing it and being smart about it."
It took Trevathan 54 days to return from the first fracture, suffered in a training-camp practice Aug. 12. The second fracture, incurred early in the Oct. 12 win over the New York Jets, led to a 63-day recovery and rehabilitation before his season ended on the day of his second return at San Diego.
The Broncos got back to work Monday, April 13, with the first phase of their offseason program.
"Yeah, I feel like I rushed myself," he said. "But you know what? It's the game of football, and I felt like I was ready. I felt like my team wanted me out there, and I was just doing what I needed to do for us to win.
"This year, it's a different attitude. I'm being smart about it, but at the same time, I'm going to do what I've got to do to help us win."
The first step was recovering from the knee problems during the last four months.
"I'm 100 percent," he said. "I've got a new kneecap, and I'm just working as hard as I can, man. It feels good to have a new kneecap."
Trevathan's workload for organized team activities in May and June could be limited to walk-through paces; as Head Coach Gary Kubiak said March 24 that it would be a "mental offseason" for Trevathan. But he can still learn plenty about his intended role in the 3-4 alignment -- as the weakside inside linebacker.
"I'm going to be on the weak side a lot. I'm going to be playing mostly to the slot receiver. But I'm going to have the same attitude," he said. "It's a more aggressive defense."
That defense will eventually allow Trevathan and Brandon Marshall to share the field. Marshall's emergence last year before he suffered a foot injury in Week 15 left the Broncos searching for opportunities to get them on the field at the same time, but when both succumbed to injuries at San Diego, that window closed as soon as it opened.
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme is a "linebacker-friendly defense," Trevathan noted.
"I watched film, and I just saw linebackers being physical and attacking all the offensive linemen, anybody in front of them, hitting nose to the ball, and that's the kind of style I play," Trevathan said.
"It's basically putting us in the best position to be playmakers. And that's what me and Brandon do: make plays. As linebackers, that's what you're designed to do: make plays, gap the hole, scrape and do what you've got to do."