Mike Purcell doesn’t need a lot of ramp-up time.
The veteran defensive lineman spent most of the offseason rehabilitating from a knee injury and was on the non-football injury list until Aug. 23.
In the less than two weeks since getting cleared to practice, Purcell said he’s got himself ready for Week 1.
“Just rehab and making sure my body’s ready for the season,” he told The Post of his summer. “I’m feeling good. Ready to go. My knee’s good. I won’t comment on the injury, but everything’s good.”
If you’re a stout interior run defender like Purcell, and especially when you’ve spent the past four years playing for the Broncos, there’s not a better opponent to open the regular season against than the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Oh yeah,” Purcell said. “It’s the Raiders. They are who they are. At the end of the day, it’s a divisional opponent and if we want to improve, we’ve got to win within the division.”
Purcell played 42 snaps and logged five tackles in Week 17 of the 2019 season when the Broncos topped the then-Oakland Raiders, 16-15. Since then, Denver has dropped six straight to the division foe.
That losing streak to Las Vegas may be painful for Broncos fans, but head coach Sean Payton said he wouldn’t call the matchup a “rivalry.”
“Look, divisional games are important,” he said. “The first goal is to find a way to win your division. I can’t speak to rivalries. I just think that exists a little bit more in the collegiate game.”
Of course, the importance of divisional games is not just playoff positioning, but because each team is on the schedule twice.
This year, the regular season bookends with games against the Raiders: Sunday afternoon in Denver, then not until Jan. 6 or 7 in Las Vegas.
The rest of the division slate lines up like this: Denver plays Kansas City twice in a 17-day span from Oct. 12 (at Kansas City) to Oct. 29 (home). The Broncos travel to the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 10 and then turn around and host them on New Years Eve.
Purcell happy to help. Purcell for the second straight year was released by the Broncos at the roster cutdown knowing he’d be re-signed. The move, also used with corner Fabian Moreau and offensive lineman Quinn Bailey, allowed Denver to put a trio of players on injured reserve Wednesday.
Purcell doesn’t see it as an imposition.
“In the end, it doesn’t affect anything,” Purcell told The Post. “If I’m here and it helps the team out so they can make some moves, I’m all for it.”
He re-signed to the same deal he and the club re-worked in August. According to NFL Players Association data and sources, Purcell’s base salary is $1.485 million. As a vested veteran, that amount becomes guaranteed once he’s on the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game. Purcell can earn up to $765,000 in per-game roster bonuses and then up to another $1 million in incentives.
Injury picture. The Broncos won’t put out the first official injury report of the regular season until Wednesday and Payton said during his conference call Monday he had “no updates.”
During the portion of practice open to reporters, cornerback Riley Moss (core) and tight end Chris Manhertz were stretching with the team and did individual work, marking returns to practice for both.
Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) stretched on the side field with vice president of player health and performance Beau Lowery. Jeudy had a helmet on but was not otherwise in uniform.
Also spotted: Receiver Tim Patrick, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles, using crutches to head into the Broncos’ weight room.
Denver on Monday released reserve outside linebacker Chris Allen from injured reserve after reaching an injury settlement with him. The second-year player spent all of 2022 on injured reserve and was waived at the roster cutdown deadline last week.
Number changes. Five Broncos are sporting new numbers now that the roster has been trimmed and game week is here. They are: Cornerbacks Tremon Smith (No. 1), Fabian Moreau (No. 23) and Ja’Quan McMillian (No. 29), punter Riley Dixon (No. 9) and receiver Marvin Mims, Jr. (No. 19).
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