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Broncos Release Leading Rusher Willis McGahee After Two Seasons

Denver Broncos Running Back Willis McGahee
Denver Broncos Running Back Willis McGahee talks with the media after the first day of mini camp at Dove Valley on June 11, 2013. Photographer: John Leyba/The Denver Post

The Denver Broncos released running back Willis McGahee, an 11-year veteran who had a team-leading 731 rushing yards last season, after selecting Montee Ball in the second round of this year’s National Football League draft.

McGahee, 31, totaled 1,930 rushing yards and eight touchdowns over the past two seasons in Denver. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season, when he ran for 1,119 yards and helped the Broncos set a franchise-record with a league-leading 164.5 rushing yards per game.

“It’s never easy to part ways with a veteran player who made so many positive contributions to our team and community,” Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said in a statement. “I appreciate all of the competitiveness, toughness and leadership Willis brought to the Broncos.”

In addition to Ball, who was the third running back taken in this year’s draft after scoring 55 touchdowns at the University of Wisconsin the past two years, the Broncos also have C.J. Anderson, Lance Ball, Jacob Hester, Ronnie Hillman, Jeremiah Johnson and Knowshon Moreno at running back. Moreno was second on the team with 525 rushing yards last season.

McGahee’s 33 career 100-yard rushing games are tied for the second-most among active players. He and Ricky Watters are the only two players in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards in a season for three different franchises. McGahee has also done it for the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.

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