ENGLEWOOD – The 2012 season was a lost one for Broncos cornerback Tracy Porter long before the 38-35 double overtime defeat Sunday, and now leads to questions as to whether he will return for 2013.
Porter signed a one-year, $4 million contract last spring to play right cornerback opposite Champ Bailey, but after missing time in October because of light-headedness and a rapid heartbeat — conditions that preceded a seizure two months earlier — he lost his starting job to Chris Harris and then couldn’t even unseat Tony Carter as the fifth defensive back until Week 16.
“I honestly don’t know,” Porter said Sunday. “It’s a crazy business. They could say they want me back or not. I don’t know the feeling upstairs, but I know what I can do.
“I believe in myself. I’ve got talent, drive and desire to continue to play. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I will be on the field.”
That was more than could be said for Porter in the last three months, during which he played just one possession of the 34-12 win over the Browns on Dec. 23.
Porter’s troubles began with a seizure in August. When the symptoms that were a precursor to it recurred, he was removed from the lineup and said he underwent a battery of tests that ruled out potentially grave causes, such as a tumor.
But even aside the recurrence of the symptoms, Porter had a season laced with drama. There was the 31-25 loss to Houston in Week 3 in which he was beaten deep twice, by Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter. There were reports of attitude problems, which he denied through his Twitter account. Then, when he finally returned on Dec. 23 as the Broncos’ fifth defensive back, he suffered a concussion on the first defensive series and didn’t practice again.
Such a path seemed impossible to conceive on Sept. 9, when he cliched the 31-19 season-opening win over Pittsburgh with an interception return that seemed to indicate that his nickname, “Pick Six Porter,” would make the transition from New Orleans to Denver.
“I’m frustrated. being a competitor,” Porter said. “It started with a great start. All those accolades; you’re thinking things are going to continue.”
It was against Houston on Sept. 23 that his season began flying off the rails.
“I had that one bad game. it comes with the territory as a corner. It slowed me down,” he said. “I came back, and it was just unfortunate incidents that occurred. You don’t want those to happen, but they happened, and guys stepped in and played great.”
The emergence of Harris and Carter, as well as the Broncos’ long-term hopes for rookie Omar Bolden, likely render Porter redundant, although Porter wouldn’t close the door on a return.
“Whether they want me back or not, I’ll take advantage of my opportunity,” he said. “I’ll play somewhere, whether here or somewhere else.”