ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It's not the way Derek Wolfe wanted to win his first starting job, but the rookie defensive lineman is ready to step up.
Head Coach John Fox revealed on Wednesday that defensive end Jason Hunter had triceps surgery and will be sidelined for four months. In Hunter's stead, Wolfe saw extended time with the first-unit defensive line during Wednesday's practice.
"I feel bad for Hunt -- I hope he gets better soon," Wolfe said. "But I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity and try to fill in as best as I can and make some plays out there."
Wolfe said he doesn't know exactly how Hunter was injured, but that it happened during individual drills and it's an unfortunate part of football.
Prior to Hunter's injury, Wolfe often rotated into the line with Hunter as the two provided breaks for one another.
Now, Wolfe is getting used to staying on the field twice as long.
"Right now I'm not coming off the field because I'm starting in both packages now, so that's something I'm going to have to get used to -- being out there the whole time," he said.
When asked how he's making the transition, the rookie maintained, "It's just football."
He saw plenty of playing time in Denver's 31-3, preseason-opening win in Chicago, when he notched two sacks and a tackle for a loss.
Now that playing time will just start a little earlier.
Whether he's spending most of his time at defensive end or defensive tackle, Wolfe said it doesn't matter to him. The only thing he's thinking about is doing what he can to help the team earn wins.
"You have a lot of vets that are out there counting on you," Wolfe said. "But when it comes down to it, it's just playing football and doing your job."
"I'm just going to go out there and play hard and do what I have to do."