Just a day after news broke that Broncos reached out to G/C Ryan Lilja for his services, Ryan Lilja has decided to come back to the NFL to chase a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos. It is being reported per Mike Klis that Lilja has accepted a one-year deal worth up to $2.2 million with incentives included.
Lilja, who last played for the Kansas City Chiefs, had toe and knee surgery at the end of last year. After those surgeries, the nine-year vet decided he had enough and retired at the surprising age of 31-years-old.
Apparently it took less than a day for the Lilja to change his mind. There is much speculation that QB Peyton Manning had a lot of influence in getting Lilja to come back. Lilja was Manning's teammate for five years in Indianapolis. However, he was not the starting center, but the starting left guard rather. Even though Lilja wasn't the man under center for Manning, Lilja should be able to catch on to Manning's audibles and other line calls pretty quickly working with him prior. At least that's the hope anyways.
Although the Broncos have not yet said Lilja will be getting the starting job at center, it is pretty evident he will. Starting for the Chiefs last year, Lilja was solid. According to Pro Football Focus, Lilja ranked the 14 best center in the league based on their advanced stats. With a better far better offense, the hope is those stats will improve this year. However, as desperate as Denver has been trying to find a center who isn't hurt, I'm sure they'd take another performance like last year from Lilja.