Kevin Fixler
    Sport Matters

11 June 2014

Chase Vaughn: One of the 90

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Under almost-cloudless skies, most of the attention is focused on quarterback Peyton Manning as he carves up the defense in 7-on-7 drills before they graduate to full 11-on-11s during Denver’s second week of OTAs. With All-Pro linebacker Von Miller rehabbing his right ACL injury in the foreground, Manning’s barks of “Omaha!” and other directives are drowned out by the noise of heavy-duty vehicles repeatedly reversing, pounding and jackhammering. On a separate field, not far in the distance, the defensive ends work on their technique and positioning before joining the larger group. Three enormous orange, white and blue cranes hang nearby, plugging away on construction of the Broncos’ new $35 million, 115,000-square-foot indoor practice facility.

“It’s kind of hard to hear coach when there’s a tractor right there,” said Chase Vaughn, an unknown among the group of ends. “They’re doing work though, man. It’s getting up fast. It’s crazy.” The same can be said of the 25-year-old NFL rookie himself — the 90th and final offseason player signed by the Broncos less than a month ago, when practically nobody felt he had any business playing at this level. Vaughn, like many of the safety-vested lunch pails scooting around the field before noon, is clad in orange with the rest of the defense, hard at work on the foundation of his professional career. The blueprint he’s followed to arrive here is most improbable.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 242 pounds, and since converted to his college position of D-end after entering camp as a linebacker, Vaughn’s foray into the NFL marks his fifth pro football league. It seemed unthinkable just weeks prior, when he was answering phones as a wellness coach at a regional hospital call center. He had stints over the past four years in the now-defunct United Football League, something called the Indoor Football League, the Canadian Football League and then the Arena Football League last year.

Read the rest of Vaughn’s story at Sports On Earth.

Follow me on Twitter: @kfixler

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