Denver adds third quarterback as insurance

Updated: September 17, 2003, 6:57 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer tested his sore right shoulder with some short throws Wednesday and said he expects to be ready for Monday night's game against Oakland.

Just in case, the Broncos signed quarterback Danny Kanell.

Plummer, who is listed as probable for the Raiders game, wasn't able to cut loose on any long throw in his first practice since suffering a mild shoulder separation against San Diego on Sunday, and coach Mike Shanahan stopped short of saying Plummer would start. Plummer said he expects to test it more as the week progresses.

"It feels good from 10 to 12 yards away, but if I've got to throw one, hose one into a hole there and let it go, I'm not sure how that's going to feel yet," Plummer said. "But I think by Monday it will feel really good and I've just got to be smart leading up to that."

Plummer was injured in the second quarter against the Chargers while diving for a first down on a bootleg. He threw a touchdown pass two plays later, but was replaced by Steve Beuerlein on the next series and didn't return.

Plummer said most of the swelling has gone down and he has full range of motion, but he doesn't know what to expect the first time he takes a hit from the Raiders.

"It should come back all right," Plummer said. "Really, the only thing that can do any more damage to it is to land on it again. I'm expecting to play Monday and hopefully not land on it."

Shanahan said Plummer's confidence in his shoulder will have as much to do with whether he plays as pain.

"If you go into a game as a quarterback and you're worried about falling on your shoulder, chances are you're not going to be very effective," Shanahan said. "If we feel like he's ready to go and he's 100 percent or close to it, he's going to compete. If we feel like he's hesitant and he's worried about his shoulder, he's not going to play."

The Broncos aren't taking any chances.

"I talked to Jake yesterday afternoon, asked if he could throw the ball 40 yards down the field right now, and he said no," Shanahan said. "Once he couldn't, that's when we made the decision to bring Danny in."

Kanell, 29, a former starter for the New York Giants, signed with Denver in the offseason after two years of playing minor league baseball and in the Arena League. He was released Sept. 1 when the Broncos decided to go with Plummer and Beuerlein as their only quarterbacks.

At the time, Shanahan said receiver Rod Smith would serve as the emergency third quarterback. Plummer's injury forced Beuerlein into action on Sunday.

To make room for Kanell, the Broncos waived cornerback Roosevelt Williams. The team also released fullback Kyle Johnson from the practice squad and added cornerback Brandon Williams.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press