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Broncos sign ILB Austin Ajiake, place ILB Jonas Griffith on injured reserve with ACL injury


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos will be without veteran linebacker Jonas Griffith for the entirety of the 2023 season, as the team placed him on injured reserve on Thursday.

Head Coach Sean Payton said Griffith suffered an ACL injury when he stepped on another player's foot during a special teams play on Tuesday.

"He's going to go to Reserve/Injured with an ACL," Payton said. "It's unfortunate because he's one of those guys who was rehabbing, too — saw him a lot [during the offseason]. We're trying to keep his spirits up."

Griffith started 12 games for the Broncos over the previous two seasons and appeared in 22 total games for Denver. He recorded 92 games, four tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one interception in that span.

In his stead, the Broncos signed rookie linebacker Austin Ajiake.

The new Bronco spent five years at UNLV, for whom he played 48 games. In his final season, Ajiake led the Mountain West in tackles with 132 total. The 2022 first-team All-Mountain West selection was also an honorable mention pick for all-conference honors in 2021.

After Thursday's practice, Payton said Ajiake's potential on special teams was a factor in the team's decision to sign him.

"We liked him," Payton said. "We felt like he had good athletic traits. We felt like he could help us in the kicking game. So we brought him back for a workout with a few other guys, and we thought he did pretty well."

Ajiake joins a position group that also features Josey Jewell, Alex Singleton, Justin Strnad, Justin Strnad, Drew Sanders and Seth Benson.

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