Denver's Selvin Young Returns To Hometown To Face Texans

By: AP
By: AP

It's a big week for Selvin Young.

Denver's undrafted rookie ran for a career-high 156 yards in a win over Kansas City on Sunday and gets to play in a prime-time game in his hometown Thursday night against the Houston Texans.

Young knows his performance against the Chiefs won't matter when the Broncos play the Texans.

"It's not about what you've done last time, it's what you're doing now," he said. "What are you doing for me lately. So it's being consistent, trying to do what I can do and ... learn from the things that I did wrong last week and try to get better."

Young is the latest in Denver's rich tradition of successful running backs who were undrafted or low draft picks. Injuries pushed Young into the starting role and the former University of Texas standout has made the most of his opportunity, averaging 5.7 yards a carry.

Young's effort Sunday gave him 569 yards for the season, making him the sixth undrafted rookie in league history to rush for more than 500 yards.

Denver coach Mike Shanahan isn't surprised by Young's success. When asked if he thought Young would be this type of player, he brought up a low draft pick who went on to unprecedented success in Denver.

"We thought Terrell Davis would be the type of player he was, too, that's why we took him in the sixth round," Shanahan said. "You never know what guys are going to do and you give them an opportunity to show what they can do. I think we've seen what Selvin can do in the preseason. I said in preseason it wouldn't surprise me if he was a starter in the National Football League and be an over 1,000-yard back."

Davis was a sixth-round pick in 1995 and ran for more than 6,000 yards in his first four seasons in Denver.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said he liked Young during the draft, but at the time he had plenty of depth at running back.

"He's a fine player, Houston kid and a lot of people talked about him coming out of Texas," Kubiak said. "They've done a great job of finding backs that nobody else can find and this kid's been a great surprise for them."

Shanahan said Young is as mature as a five-year veteran and the Broncos are lucky to have him. He added that he thinks he could be the full-time starter.

"The guy is tough as nails," Shanahan said. "He blocks in pass protection, he blocks in the open field. We've got him in the nickel and he takes on linebackers and gets the job done."

As smooth as his transition to Denver has been, there's one thing he hasn't adjusted to yet.

"I'm looking forward to going home, getting away from some of this snow, going back to seeing some good dry grass more than anything," he said.

Young expects to have dozens of family and friends at Thursday's game, including his five younger brothers.

"I've got a bunch of little brothers," he said. "I'm more excited about letting them get the chance to see me play at home and I just can't wait to come back."

While the Broncos rave about their undrafted rookie running back, the Texans are a bit apprehensive about the possibility they'll have to start theirs.

Darius Walker, who made his NFL debut Sunday, could start against Denver as Ron Dayne struggles with a sore ankle. Dayne injured his ankle two weeks ago and aggravated that injury against Tampa Bay. He was limited to just seven carries against the Buccaneers.

Walker had 16 carries for 46 yards and six receptions for 35 yards Sunday. Houston's other running back is former practice squad player Adimchinobi Echemandu.

"Ronnie's still very hobbled, his ankle," Kubiak said. "We'll just treat the heck out of him and see how much progress we can make with him."


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