ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --A year ago, Derek Wolfe regained the weight he lost during a frustrating 2013 season that began with a spinal-cord injury and ended with a seizure that kept him out for that season's final eight games.
But only now is Wolfe re-accustomed to his usual bulk. Although his production improved in 2014, he didn't feel as quick as he wanted. The readjustmend to playing in the 290-pound range after dropping to 258 in 2013 held him back.
Now he feels the difference.
"Definitely my footwork and my movement," Wolfe said. "My quickness has come back as I start to get used to carrying the weight again. Going a whole year not carrying that weight will get you."
A year ago, Wolfe hit the offseason reinvigorated after that scary 2013. But he was not all the way back. As with many other injuries, it takes a year to bounce all the way back.
"When it comes to my body and recovery and stuff like that, I'm very impatient," Wolfe said. "I thought I was going to bounce back a lot quicker than I did.
"I bounced back health-wise, but just the way I move, my movements and stuff -- you still subconsciously hesitate a little bit just because you're protective of certain areas.
"Really, that's completely out of my mind now. I'm not even thinking about it. I can get back to playing the way I like to play."
And in the 3-4 defense, that means playing a 5-technique defensive end -- a position he once thought he'd be playing all along.
"Really, that's where I thought I was going to end up—with a 3-4 team," Wolfe said. "It is nice to be in my natural position.
"I think the length and the size combination. I'm not really a speed rusher. I'm not really a big 330-pound defensive tackle either. I'm kind of tweener, and that's really what you need at the 3-4."
A 'tweener? Perhaps. But the Broncos believe he's just right for that task -- just like he feels that he's just right for the first time in two years.