Culture, history some of the biggest draws for Denver’s newest veterans

The Denver Broncos didn’t make the biggest free agency splash in 2017.

They didn’t have to make a big splash. Instead, they did their best to fill the holes they believed existed on last year’s roster.

With each new player the Broncos added this offseason comes a unique view of the organization.

For Domata Peko, a defensive lineman who spent his first 11 seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, the move to Denver has been one he’s enjoyed so far.

“For me, it’s really cool,” Peko said of the change. “Being in Cincinnati for 11 seasons, that’s all I knew. I knew how we did things there. But coming here, it’s really been such a great change for me. I’m really enjoying it.”

Despite only being in Denver for a few short months, Peko has already noticed one big difference between the Broncos and the Bengals.

“In Cincy, we’re always talking about, ‘Oh, I want to win a playoff game. I want to win a playoff game,'” Peko said. “But over here, we’re talking about winning championships. That’s what brought me here, I want to win a championship.”

Peko is only one of the defensive linemen that the Broncos added this offseason. Zach Kerr, a defensive tackle entering his fourth season, was also signed in March.

According to Kerr, as soon as the Broncos made the call, it was a done deal.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer when my team got the call from the Broncos saying they wanted to work a deal out,” Kerr said.

Kerr spent his first three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and was visiting the Detroit Lions when he got the call from the Broncos. As a defensive tackle, he was sold on the defense that Denver has established over the last few seasons.

“I actually really liked Detroit,” Kerr said. “But as soon as I got the offer from Denver, I said, ‘Yup, let’s go.’ It’s a great defense, it’s been a great defense. You would be a fool not to want to play here.”

While the defense and a championship did the trick for Peko and Kerr, former Kansas City Chief and one of the newest members of Denver’s backfield has had his sights on the Broncos for a while now.

“I’m excited to be a Bronco,” Jamaal Charles said of his move from a division rival. “I’ve wanted to be a Bronco since I was a little kid when I looked up to John Elway and saw how he carries his team and [Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee RB] Terrell Davis at running back. That inspired me as a little kid. I just like the way the organization was back then.”

Often times when a veteran changes teams, football is the easiest part about their move. It’s the little things that can be hard to kick.

“Signing balls, I’m signing [number] 25 still,” Charles, who wore number 28 throughout OTAs and minicamp, laughed. “One time they were about to break down the huddle and I was about to say, ‘Chiefs.'”

Old habits die hard. Just like anything, Charles knows that it will come to him in time.

“It’s just something to get used to. I’m happy to be here. It’s going to take some time, but I already feel like [that part] is over with. It’s all about seeing the colors now – blue, orange and white. I’m excited to be in the nice uniform.”

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