The Denver Broncos released their inactives list and starting safety T.J. Ward didn't appear, making him available for a Super Bowl matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
His presence in the game doesn't come as a big surprise, however.
"I feel great," Ward said last weekend, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN. "I’m just resting and making sure I’m healthy when it comes (to the Super Bowl). I’ll definitely be ready to play."
Ward, 29, accumulated 61 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles during the regular season, adding 10 tackles during the team's postseason run. He has combined with Darian Stewart at safety and Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib at cornerback to give the Broncos one of the NFL's top secondaries.
But Ward missed three games with an ankle injury late in the regular season and reinjured the ankle against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, putting his status in the Super Bowl in question.
Having him in the starting lineup is a huge boost for the Broncos, especially against Cam Newton and the league's top-scoring offense. He'll play a major role in trying to contain dangerous tight end Greg Olsen in the passing game, while he'll also need to be a factor against Carolina's excellent rushing attack.
He's certainly been a huge part of Denver's excellent defense to this point in the season, so his place in the starting lineup was excellent news for the team.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!