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Broncos sign WR Brandon Stokley

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2012-04-16 21:07

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Brandon Stokley, who made one of the most famous catches in Broncos history, is returning to Denver to play with old friend Peyton Manning.

Stokley signed a one-year deal with the Broncos Monday. In June, he'll turn 36, the same age as Manning, whom he played with in Indianapolis from 2003-06.

Stokley's first stint with the Broncos (2007-09) was best known for his ``Immaculate Deflection'' catch that stunned the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2009 season opener. Down 7-6 with 28 seconds left, Kyle Orton's underthrown pass to Brandon Marshall was tipped by cornerback Leon Hall and into the hands of Stokley, who raced for an 87-yard TD and a 12-7 win in Josh McDaniels' head coaching debut.

Stokley played with the Seahawks in 2010 and the Giants last year.

He worked out with Manning in March while the quarterback was in Denver to listen to John Elway's pitch and also has been playing catch with Manning at local high school football fields over the last month.

Manning was excited at the prospect of throwing to the ``Slot Machine'' again.

``Anytime that management wants to add good football players to this team, I'm all in favor of it, no matter what position,'' Manning said.

Another player who was jazzed about Stokley's signing was receiver Eric Decker, whom Stokley took under his wing as a rookie.

When Decker was at the University of Minnesota, he suffered a Lisfranc injury, a tear of the ligament that holds the first two toes in place, and almost immediately got a call from Stokley, who had suffered the same ligament injury in 2002.

Stokley shared his advice about rehab and adjusting to the NFL and the two became fast friends.

``Stokley's my guy,'' Decker said Monday just before the veteran's signing was official. ``He'd be a good addition. Obviously he's a savvy veteran, he's been around the league a while, so I can learn a lot from a guy like that.''

Stokley is a 14th-year pro who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 1999 out of Southwestern Louisiana, which is now called the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He's played in 131 regular season games with 339 catches for 4,680 yards and 34 TDs. He's also played in 14 playoff games with 43 catches for 620 yards and six TDs. He won Super titles with Baltimore in 2000 and Indianapolis in 2006.

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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