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“He has been extraordinary for us in so many ways, but it seems like it gave him confidence. I don’t know what the difference was, but he’s better because of it.”

Broncos linebacker Lenon’s confidence had to be waning at various points in his 12-year career. He was on the 0-16 Lions of 2008, eight years after he was not selected in the draft. He was cut by Carolina in 2000, worked for the post office and then wound up in the XFL - if anybody remembers that short-lived league.

Yet here he is, a backup to middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard who gets snaps in the regular defense, and plays some special teams.

Lenon learned a lot from all that losing with the Lions. By applying those lessons, well, he’s managed another half-decade in the NFL.

“When you’re in a situation like that, you have a certain amount of guys that pack it in,” Lenon said. “That’s difficult for me, because I’m not that type of person. I’m going to compete until the end. That’s the most difficult part of being in a situation like that.

“Now, it’s a complete reversal.”

And a great place to be after you’ve been mired in the other side.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org