ENGLEWOOD, Colo --After an impressive showing during the Broncos' first preseason game to complement a solid three weeks of training camp, the feeling at Tuesday's practice was a bit different for running back Xavier Omon.
"A little bit more attention, just a little bit," Omon said. "I'm not used to all these cameras in front of my face."
But the recent spike in attention means nothing to Omon if it doesn't help him achieve his one, simple goal.
"I'm not trying to impress people," he said. "I've gotten a lot of attention, but my goal is to make the 53-man roster. Now if I'm getting attention with that, I guess that's good. But if not, I'm just out to try to make the 53-man roster and play as hard as I can."
Omon has been a part of six teams since entering the league in 2008 as a sixth-round pick from Northwest Missouri State, a Division II school.
He carried the ball 11 times in his first two years while playing for the Buffalo Bills, before being waived in November, 2009. Since then, he's been confined to practice squads. Per league rules, he is ineligible for another practice squad stint in 2012.
If he's going to stay in the league, there's only one way to do it.
"This could be my last shot," Omon said. "Either I'm on the 53-man roster or I'm done. So there's definitely a little bit more urgency, but I'm taking it one day at a time and just enjoying the ride."
Since the pads came on in late July, Omon has run like a back with one last shot, while making it tough for defenders in his way to enjoy their ride.
At Thursday night's preseason game in Chicago, Omon led the way for Denver with seven carries, 36 yards and a touchdown. He punctuated his performance with a callous stiff arm to a Bears' linebacker who failed to slow Omon's momentum.
During team drills at Tuesday morning's practice, Omon quickly turned the corner on an off-tackle run, and after picking up 10 yards, finished it off by sending would-be tackler Omar Bolden to the ground with a lowered shoulder.
Even with all the contact, the aching and soreness that often comes with three weeks of training camp hasn't hit Omon.
"I don't feel banged up," Omon said. "I don't feel tired. I'm just trying to get better every day. That's what our coaches always tell us, 'If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.' And that's what I'm trying to do is every day come out here and get a little bit better."
Omon is taking a similar approach to that of his childhood hero, Broncos Ring of Fame running back Terrell Davis. Like Omon, Davis was drafted in the sixth round and began his career buried on the depth chart.
"Until I got older I didn't realize what he had to go through," Omon said. "He didn't come out here and just get the starting job. He had to work hard and probably didn't get a lot of opportunities at first. He kept working hard, he got opportunities and he's one of the greatest running backs to ever play for the Broncos. So I'm definitely trying to follow in his footsteps and hopefully it all works out for me."
On August 31st, the day after the final preseason game, the Broncos cut their roster down to the 53. Until then, Omon will run like there's no tomorrow.
"Any day could be your last," he said.