Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Denver Broncos Sign Free-Agent Center Ryan Lilja to One-Year Contract

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is going to be reunited with one of his former offensive lineman.

No, not Jeff Saturday.

Ryan Lilja (31, 6'2", 290 pounds) spent five seasons (2004-09) with the Indianapolis Colts as a guard, winning a Super Bowl (XLI) along the way. On Wednesday, Lilja agreed to terms with the Broncos, team executive John Elway announced.

In 2010, Lilja signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he spent the last three seasons.  Following the Chiefs' dismal 2012 season, Lilja retired.  But when given the chance to reunite with Manning and perhaps win the starting job in Denver, he agreed to come out of retirement.

According to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, Lilja's one-year deal has a "max value" of $2.2 million.

Last year, Lilja started the two games at guard in Kansas City before injuries forced the team to move him to center, where he started the final thirteen games of the season, allowing 3.0 sacks.

Lilja has 113 career starts (including the postseason) under his belt and comes to Denver after allowing an average of 0.139 sacks per start, or about one sack every seven games.

Lilja will be competing with assumed starter Manny Ramirez, who was thrust into the starting role after Dan Koppen went down with a torn ACL.  Ramirez (30, 6'3", 313 pounds) allowed 6.5 sacks through eleven starts at guard last season.

Lilja will fly from Kansas City to Denver tomorrow morning, per the 'Post.