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Third-stringer? Kanell will start vs. Ravens, Pats

DENVER -- With the Broncos' depth at quarterback decimated by injuries, Danny Kanell has gone from third-stringer to starter for at least the next two games.

Jake Plummer is out at least another three weeks because of a broken bone in his left foot. Backup Steve Beuerlein suffered a dislocated finger on his throwing hand Sunday in Denver's 28-20 loss to the Vikings and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Kanell's new backup is former Bronco Jarious Jackson, who re-signed with the team on Wednesday. Jackson, the team's third-string quarterback the past three seasons, was let go before this season began when coach Mike Shanahan decided to go with only two quarterbacks. A seventh-round draft choice by Denver in 2000, the 6-0, 228-pound Jackson has appeared in four regular season games (two in
2000 and one each in 2001 and 2002) and completed seven of 13 passes (53.8 percent) for 73 yards.

What all of this means is Denver -- at 5-2, two games behind Kansas City in the AFC West after the Chiefs beat Oakland on Monday night -- heads into a critical stretch with two quarterbacks it released last summer. The Broncos face the AFC North-leading Ravens (3-3) on Sunday in Baltimore and host 5-2 New England on Nov. 3 before entering the bye week.

Kanell last played for Atlanta in 2000, played in the Arena Football League in 2002, and spent the last two years out of football; he played minor-league baseball in 2001 for the Newark Bears of the
independent Atlantic League.

Kanell has 22 career starts in six NFL seasons, including 10 with the New York Giants in both the 1997 and
1998 seasons.

"I sent a letter to the Vikings and about 15 other teams before
the season," Kanell said Sunday. "They wrote me back and said they were
sorry, but their coaching staff is full right now."

For now, Denver's season rests on a quarterback who everyone
assumed was finished before the season.

"It's kind of crazy the way things have worked," Kanell said.
"But I'm grateful to this organization for taking a chance on me,
and I'll do my best to help this team win games."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.