Ryan Lilja has six years experience playing with Peyton Manning from their time together in Indianapolis, the primary reason the Denver Broncos reached out to the retired 32-year-old interior lineman about joining the team.
The Broncos are in a serious bind at the center position, a critical communications center in the Manning-run offense which operates frequently without a traditional huddle.
Lilja played center last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, sliding over from his customary guard spot to replace injured Rodney Hudson.
With J.D. Walton and Dan Koppen injured, the Broncos moved guard Manny Ramirez to the pivot.
Lilja had also been approached by the Chiefs about coming out of retirement.
At the crux of his decision is whether toe and knee issues that required surgery after last season are behind him.
Lilja was a starter at guard with the Colts alongside Jeff Saturday, the Pro Bowl center whose name was bandied by media as a candidate to rescue the Broncos and act as the offensive line's rudder when Koppen was hurt. But Saturday quickly ended such speculation, saying he'd lost more than 50 pounds since his career ended with the Packers in 2012.