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Quinn reflects on 'unfortunate' time in Denver

The SportsXchange

If Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn holds any bitterness toward the Broncos for his two-season, no-pass backup stint, he's not showing it -- or he's buried it entirely.

"You take the opportunity when it's given to you. I didn't really get that opportunity," Quinn said as he prepares to start against his former team -- which has emerged as one of the AFC's Super Bowl contenders since he departed for Kansas City as a free agent last March.

Granted, that opportunity wouldn't have come in Denver, even if he had opted to return for the 2012 season; he'd be buried on the bench behind Peyton Manning, whose successful comeback from four neck surgeries has validated the risk the Broncos took when they signed him to a five-year contract in March.

But it didn't come in 2010 or 2011, either, when the inconsistent Kyle Orton and the scattershot Tim Tebow moved ahead of Quinn on the depth chart early and stayed there until a spate of interceptions sent Orton to the bench -- and ultimately to the waiver wire in November 2011.

Even as the shine on Tebow began to dull when the Broncos lost four of five games to close the 2011 season, Quinn never had a chance to move up.

"It was unfortunate, but that's how life works out sometimes," Quinn said. "Sometimes God has a different plan for you, and you've got to try to learn the best you can, regardless of the circumstance or situation, and then take what you can and move forward."

But Quinn did, in fact, have a chance to earn a better place on the roster -- the 2011 preseason finale at Arizona, which he started ahead of Tebow. That ended in disaster, as he finished with a ghastly 7.6 quarterback rating on 4-of-12 passing for 26 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

When Tebow followed Quinn by completing seven of his 11 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, the order was set for the season that followed.

"I just tried to be the best teammate I could, trying to help out wherever I could with Tim or anyone else on the team," Quinn said.

But some of his ex-teammates still with the Broncos -- including cornerback Champ Bailey -- still believe Quinn got a raw deal in a situation where outside pressure to start Tebow when Orton faltered was immense.

"I think a little, because you had Orton, who was obviously playing better than everybody in practice, and here's Tebow waiting and he's possibly the future of the franchise so you want to see what he has and Brady just kind of got caught in the middle of that," Bailey said. "He didn't really get a fair shot but he has his chance now and I'm sure he's going to try to make the most of it."

Quinn won't lack for motivation. But neither will the Broncos, for whom the 1-9 Chiefs could be little more than a speed bump if their defense continues to sack opposing quarterbacks at a league-leading pace.

"Everyone's talented, everyone's got speed," said Quinn. "It's an extremely tough defense playing lights out right now."

And it's a daunting assignment for a former first-round pick who is simply trying to keep the lights from flickering out on his bid to become a legitimate starter.

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