ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - ** The Broncos and Chiefs are no strangers. With 108 all-time regular season meetings, the division rivals are well-acquainted.
This Sunday, the Broncos will line up across someone who they are extremely familiar with—former Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.
Vickerson was released by the Broncos in August and signed with the Chiefs on Wednesday after starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1. Vickerson will quickly jump into a significant role for his new team during his homecoming game.
Terrance Knighton was glad Vickerson got the opportunity to sign with another team and noted that "he's still got a lot of football left in him."
Vickerson logged 22 tackles and a sack in 11 games last season before he injured his hip in November. He missed the final five games of the season and the playoffs.
Knighton said it's going to be weird lining up across from Vickerson instead of beside him on Sunday. He believes that Vickerson will be a huge asset to the Chiefs as he has extensive knowledge of the Broncos.
"He's been with [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] for a long amount of time," Knighton said. "Jack keeps it pretty simple on defense because he wants us to play fast and know what we're doing, so I'm pretty sure he'll be giving them tips, giving their O-line tips on things and ways we rush the passer and things we like to do. But ultimately it comes down to beating your man."
Vickerson spent the last four seasons in Denver and, as a nine-year veteran, he mentored many of his Broncos teammates. Knighton equates him to a big brother.
Running back Montee Ball echoed similar sentiments to Knighton's in that it will be strange facing Vickerson in a Chiefs uniform. While Ball and Knighton play very different roles on the team and on opposite sides of the ball, Ball said Vickerson taught him a lot.
"Great guy. We wish the best for him, obviously except for this game," Ball said. "But yeah, great guy. Taught me a lot. Taught the defense over here a lot. We're most definitely going to shake hands and stuff and talk a little bit."
While Ball plans to chat with Vickerson, Julius Thomas said there's definitely going to be a little "trash talk."
But, Thomas respects the amount of passion that Vickerson plays with and said he is one of those players you love to have on your own team but would prefer not to face. He said Vickerson "plays with his heart on his sleeve."
"I think there's going to be a lot of mixed emotions," Thomas said. "Vick is a guy [who] was well-liked around here. He's a guy that's been a veteran and helped me out personally. It's kind of different not playing with him. He's a guy that's missed and that I've appreciated in my career. Probably give him a little trash talk out there but it will be nice to play against him and see him again."
While it may be strange to play across from Vickerson on Sunday, one thing's for sure—all the Broncos agree with Knighton on this sentiment: "I wish him the best of luck, just not this week."