ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --With training camp set to kick off in just two days, the Broncos released linebacker Joe Mays Tuesday morning.
Mays, who began his career in Philadelphia before heading to Denver prior to the 2010 season as part of a trade, played in 34 games for the Broncos, including all 16 in the 2011 season. At times the starting middle linebacker, Mays contributed on both defense and special teams during his time in orange and blue.
He played just six games in 2012 before being placed on injured reserve. He has totaled 131 tackles on defense and 30 stops on special teams in his career.
With last year's starters at middle linebacker, Mays and Keith Brooking, no longer with the team, Nate Irving, Stewart Bradley and Steven Johnson are the three players who will battle it out for this year's spot.
"I think we have some young players that need to graduate into more playing time," Head Coach John Fox said at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Bradley has two years of starting experience from his time in Philadelphia, but Irving has been given the "first crack" at the job and he impressed his coaches throughout OTAs.
"Nate's doing a good job," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said at the end of May. "He wants to take full advantage of the opportunity he's getting to get reps inside. We've spoken about some of the things that we need to see from him and he's working hard to give that to us. He's a bright guy, and he's got a big opportunity in front of him and I think he's trying to make the most of it."