The Denver Broncos signed veteran running back Latavius Murray off the New Orleans Saints‘ practice squad Tuesday and placed starting running back Javonte Williams and starting outside linebacker Randy Gregory on injured reserve.
It’s unlikely that Murray will play Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. Although, when asked if he could play in at least some personnel groupings in the game, coach Nathaniel Hackett said: “We’re still working through that, trying to get a feel for that.”
“[I’ve] known Latavius for a while now,” Hackett added. “He is another great pro. I mean we might have some of the biggest running backs in the league right now, just having that guy, a guy who’s done it so long, has experience with pass pro, can catch, is great for our team.
“I’m so happy he’s here … He’s a very good football player.”
Williams, the Broncos’ leader in carries and rushing yards, will miss the rest of the season because of a right knee injury suffered on the Broncos’ first play of the second half in Sunday’s 32-23 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Hackett said Monday. Sources told ESPN that Williams has a torn ACL and LCL.
“Definitely devastating for [Williams],” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “A guy that you know he’s going to come back stronger, a guy that works his butt off every day.
“He’ll come back stronger, he’ll come back better. We’ll obviously miss him, we’ve got to step it up for him.'”
Gregory will miss multiple weeks, also because of a right knee injury suffered in Sunday’s loss, Hackett said. Gregory’s ACL is intact, the coach said, but he will undergo arthroscopic surgery to trim his meniscus and the joint will be examined again during the surgery, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network.
Gregory, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract this offseason, is expected to miss between two to six weeks, depending on his recovery, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. By going on IR, Gregory will have to miss a minimum of four games.
Mike Boone replaced Williams in the Broncos’ lineup right after Williams went down. Melvin Gordon III had split time with Williams over the first three games of the season, but Gordon fumbled in the second quarter and the Raiders’ Amik Robertson returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
It was Gordon’s fourth fumble of the season — the Broncos have lost two of them. Gordon got only two additional carries Sunday.
Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten, however, said the team still has confidence in the veteran Gordon.
“With Melvin, he’s going to carry the load obviously … we trust Melvin going forward here,” Outten said.
Murray, 32, has rushed for 5,539 yards and 50 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons. He also has 196 receptions for 1,377 yards and two touchdowns catches.