ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Six of Jeremy Mincey's 20 career sacks came at the expense of the Indianapolis Colts, the long-time employers of Peyton Manning when he was still with them. But five of those sacks were of quarterbacks other than the perennial Pro Bowler.
Manning's quick release frustrated Mincey, as it has many an opposing pass rusher during his 16-season career. But now that he's a Bronco, the 30-year-old defensive end no longer has to deal with it.
"Oh, man, it feels good -- especially since Peyton knew exactly who I was when I walked into the locker room," Mincey said. "(He) welcomed me with open arms and said, 'We need a guy like you around,' and I said, 'Appreciate it.'
"That made me feel really good, from a guy like that, a guy of that status."
That status -- and that of the entire Broncos team, holding an AFC-leading 11-3 record -- helped compel Mincey to choose the Broncos from among multiple suitors after the Jaguars released him last week.
"Yeah, I had offers from the Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. So I wasn't out in the water drowning," said Mincey. "I had people throwing rope, and Denver had the best rope and pulled me in.
"So I feel a lot better to be playing with guys like Peyton Manning and Terrance Knighton and you know, a whole bunch of good guys, (Robert) Ayers, and I know Shaun Phillips. I've just got a lot of relationships. I've played with Andre Caldwell in college, and me and Wes Welker worked out together in Miami. It's a lot of camaraderie here, and a lot of love."
That was something Mincey felt in Jacksonville when Jack Del Rio was his head coach, a relationship that he hopes to rekindle.
"I mean, he understood me. He knew me," Mincey said. "It was kind of like home-grown … fruit growing in your backyard that you watched grow over and over. You water it, and you give it the sunshine. He pretty much did that with me. I reached his expectations and I feel like getting back to those expectations."
But recent times were not positive for Mincey. Mincey told the Florida Times-Union last month that he had overslept and missed a meeting, and added that he was "negligent" in his football responsibilities.
Broncos Head Coach John Fox said that Mincey has a "clean slate," and the sixth-year veteran believes the change of scenery -- and short-term potential for the team -- will make all the difference.
"I mean, inspiration," Mincey said. "When you're inspired about something, it's hard to let yourself down. When you don't let yourself down, you're not going to let the people around you down. So that's the type of guy I am.
"I was lacking a lot of inspiration there. I was on a treadmill, pretty much. And I'm glad the 'off' switch came, and I fell off, and I fell onto a better treadmill. I feel like things happen for a reason, and this really was fate."
In spite of Mincey's issues, he had two sacks in a rotational role this season, and was credited with 16 hurries in 140 pass-rush snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
"I always played to win, and now that I'm actually in a position to actually win, it inspires me to play even harder," he said. "I've got a great group of men around me, a great group of men. These guys, they welcomed me in with open arms.
"We're just all on a mission to do one thing, and that's get to that next level, and y'all know what that is."