ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — At first, Brett Rypien thought little had changed.
In each of his first three seasons, the undrafted quarterback from Boise State was waived from the Broncos' roster when the final cut-down day arrived.
So when Rypien received a text from Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett to report to UCHealth Training Center, he assumed the worst.
"That's never a good thing in my past experience," Rypien said Wednesday. "My mind immediately went to [the worst]. You know, I thought I was being cut, to be honest with you. I know how this business works. I think you always have to expect the worst."
Hackett had far better news to deliver, as he informed Rypien that he had made the Broncos' initial 53-man roster.
"I was excited, to say the least," Rypien said.
Hackett said Rypien, who closed the preseason on a high note, earned a slight edge over Josh Johnson with his consistent play.
"Both of those guys did a really good job," Hackett said Wednesday. "They really did. It was a very hard decision for all of us, for our entire staff. So much respect for Josh and 'Ryp.' I think that just from a consistency standpoint, 'Ryp' edged him out just a little bit, but it doesn't say that we wouldn't be absolutely ecstatic to have Josh go in for a game if we needed to. So, it was definitely a very close competition."
Rypien was equally pleased with the performance he was able to turn in during training camp and the preseason.
"It was unbelievable," Rypien said of the preseason. "Just a lot of hard work. My main focus this camp was just control what I can control. You hear that all the time, but it becomes very hard to do when you're out here on a day-to-day basis. You maybe want to look at how many reps you're getting or maybe the opportunities are different, but ultimately if you can stay in the present moment and just go out and do what you need to do, opportunities change. I think that Buffalo week really changed it all for me and I was able to get an opportunity against Minnesota and like I said, just couldn't be more happy."
Rypien said he shared an emotional phone call with his wife after receiving the news, but he then quickly turned his focus toward what's next.
"The real work really starts now," Rypien said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Obviously with this opportunity comes a lot of responsibility. For me, it's just trying to find ways to get better and be ready to play."
KEEPING PLAYERS ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD
The Broncos added 13 players to their practice squad on Wednesday, and they had their pick of players that they'd previously waived or released from their roster. No Broncos were claimed on waivers, which meant players like wide receiver Kendall Hinton, defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and guard Netane Muti were all free to return to the Broncos.
The lack of waiver claims may have been surprising, but it was a blessing for the Broncos.
"You never know how that's going to work, and everything is a gamble," Hackett said. "There is always that time. I think this was the first time there were so many different people that we wanted on our team. I wish I could have kept them all. I was nervous that a lot of those guys would get claimed because they did do a very good job, but they didn't [get claimed]. So we are so lucky to have them back here, and we're very gracious for that."
STAYING IN DENVER
Nose tackle Mike Purcell was initially released by the Broncos on Tuesday, but he re-signed with the team ahead of Wednesday's practice.
General Manager George Paton said the move was strictly procedural, and he noted that Purcell was a big piece of what the Broncos plan to do this season.
And while Purcell was at first anxious to meet with Paton, he said Wednesday that he soon understood Paton's plan and had no plans to sign with another team.
"I don't want to be anywhere else," Purcell said Wednesday. "I want to be here. I'm looking forward to what this team has to offer."