ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – **Just hours before Santa Claus set out to deliver presents, linebacker Brandon Marshall got some news that was just as good as anything under the tree.
The Broncos signed him to the active roster after he spent the first 16 weeks of the 2013 season on the club's practice squad.
"This is the best Christmas gift I've ever gotten," Marshall said. "To play for my childhood team, this is a blessing."
Marshall's activation came after the team lost Von Miller for the rest of the season with an ACL injury. Head Coach John Fox has talked all season about the "next-man up" mentality that the team has to have, and Marshall shares that mentality.
He added that he was happy that the team picked him to be that next man.
Marshall, originally from Las Vegas, said that he grew up a Broncos fan because of the John Elway and Terrell Davis-led teams of the late '90s that won back-to-back Super Bowls.
"It was very surreal and at the same time it was very humbling and I was grateful for it," Marshall said of joining the Broncos. "At the same time I was like, 'Let's get to work now. Let me try to give these guys a good look and hopefully I'll get up.' It finally happened."
Marshall played at Nevada for four seasons and racked up 259 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, six sacks and seven fumble recoveries in his collegiate career. He was drafted in the fifth round (142nd overall) by the Jaguars in the 2012 draft.
In Jacksonville, he played in five games and registered a pair of tackles.
Marshall said he expects his role to include a lot of special teams duty for now but he's hoping to expand that moving forward.
"I just feel like it's one small step because I still have a long way to go," Marshall said. "I'm not satisfied right now with just getting off the practice squad so it was just a small step to the next goal, which is to get on the field more often.
"I'm grateful for it, but I know that I have a lot more work to do."