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Ex-Ducks RB Freeeman selected by Denver in third round

As great as John Elway was, the legendary quarterback didn’t win a Super Bowl until the end of his Hall of Fame career when Terrell Davis joined him in the Denver Broncos backfield.

After cutting starter CJ Anderson earlier this month to free up some salary cap space, Elway said he was in the market for another “bell cow” running back.

Royce Freeman rang that bell.

Oregon’s all-time leading rusher was selected by the Broncos in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday night.

“I had no idea it would be the Broncos,” Freeman said during a teleconference with reporters moments after being taken off the board with the 71st overall pick. “With things like this, you just don’t know where you’re going to end up or where you’re going to go. I definitely am appreciative to be a part of this winning culture.”

Freeman, a 6-foot, 229-pound senior finished his collegiate career with 5,621 rushing yards and 64 total touchdowns (60 rushing).

“He’s a guy we needed,” said Elway, the Broncos president of football operations/general manager. “We needed a thumper, and he’s that kind of runner. So he’s great in short yardage and will hopefully break a run or two.”

The other running backs on Denver’s roster are former Utah standout Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson, the team’s sixth-round pick in 2017.

“I feel like I have a chance to go in there and compete with other running backs that are there,” Freeman said. “There are pretty good running backs who are there already.”

Freeman became the first Oregon player taken in the NFL draft in two years.

“I can’t even (explain),” Freeman said of his emotions. “Just watching the TV and not knowing how it was going to play out. With my family, they were very supportive and always positive throughout the draft.

“When I received the call, my phone was on loud, I saw the area code and I was excited. I was turnt up.”

Royce Freeman, a running back from Oregon, talks to reporters after he was introduced to the media as one of two, third-round selections in the NFL football draft by the Denver Broncos, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Englewood, Colo.