ENGLEWOOD | Denver Broncos rookie defensive end Dre’Mont Jones came very close to sitting out last week’s game against the Detroit Lions because of a sprained left ankle.
Good thing he didn’t.
On Friday, Jones became just the third rookie in franchise history to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, joining linebackers D.J. Williams in 2004 and Von Miller in 2011.
“That was dope. I’m happy for him,” Miller said. “A rookie? Straight off an injury? That was definitely dope.”
Jones returned to the Broncos’ lineup after missing a game at Kansas City and he maded five tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in spearheading a Denver defense that limited the Lions to 191 total yards in a 27-1 7 Broncos victory.
“I was pretty close” to not playing, Jones said after practice Friday. “To be honest, it was a game-time decision. I got there early so I could work out early and see how I feel and … it turned out OK.”
Coach Vic Fangio said the team “didn’t even know if he would play or not, and if you were a betting man you would have bet during the week that he wouldn’t have. But he really wanted to play and it’s nice to see him get rewarded.”
A third-round draft pick from Ohio State who inherited the quick hands and deceptive strength of his father, Sanderline Williams, a professional boxer in the 1980s, Jones has come on strong over the last several games as his playing time increased.
“Luckily, and unfortunately, some guys got hurt and I was able to step up and do some things,” Jones said.
On the season, Jones has 14 tackles in 13 games, 3½ sacks, an interception and two pass breakups.
NOTES: Fangio ruled out O-linemen Ronald Leary (head), Ja’Wuan James (knee) and Elijah Wilkinson (ankle) for Sunday’s game against Oakland. The Broncos are unlikely to move any of them to IR and re-sign a replacement.