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Broncos take chance on basketball player

DENVER (April 26, 2005) -- The Denver Broncos weren't about to let a guy who could run, jump and block so well get away.

So, they signed Wesley Duke, a player who could be the steal of the offseason if he turns out to be as good at football as he was at basketball.

Denver signed the four-year starter from Mercer, hoping the athleticism that helped him average 11.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and a little more than one block a game last season will translate to football. Duke also finished fourth in a dunking contest held during the weekend of the Final Four.

The Broncos didn't reveal where the 6-foot-5, 225-pound player will play, although he was listed as a tight end on the NFL.com draft website. Before going to Mercer, Duke played football and basketball and ran track at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Ga.

All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates of San Diego played basketball, not football, in college at Kent State.

Denver also made three more traditional signings Tuesday, including veteran offensive lineman Anthony Clement, who was recently cut by Arizona after seven years and 70 starts.

The others signed were rookie free agents: Oregon State cornerback Brandon Browner and Colorado State tackle Erik Pears.

The Broncos also waived running back Santonio Beard and tight end Keith Willis.

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