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Broncos Sign Former Patriot, Five Days Before Playoff

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Marquice Cole (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Marquice Cole (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have signed free agent Marquice Cole to replace injured cornerback Chris Harris Jr. on their roster.

The Broncos placed Harris on IR after he tore his left ACL in Denver’s 24-17 win over San Diego last weekend.

Cole was released Dec. 26 by the New England Patriots (13-4), whom the Broncos (14-3) host Sunday in the AFC championship.

A fifth-year pro with 64 games of experience, including two starts, Cole had 10 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups for New England this season.

Harris is the fifth Broncos starter lost for the season, joining Von Miller, Rahim Moore, Kevin Vickerson and Wolfe. A versatile cornerback adept at playing on either side or in the slot, Harris might just prove the toughest of Denver’s injured defenders to replace, especially going against Tom Brady, who has a 10-4 career record against Peyton Manning’s teams.

Harris took to Twitter after an MRI on Monday revealed a torn ACL that will require surgery and at least six months of recovery and rehab and said, “Blessed to be able to help the team get this Far, and will still do my part in meeting room to help my guys out.”

Cole has played for the New York Jets (2009-11) and Patriots (2012-13), totaling 36 tackles, four interceptions, 14 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and 51 special teams stops in his career.

In eight career playoff games, including six with the Jets, he has five tackles on defense and five on special teams.

Also Tuesday, the Broncos gave up hope of defensive end Derek Wolfe returning to the field in the playoffs after suffering seizure-like symptoms on Nov. 29. He had practiced just twice since then, on Dec. 25 and 27.

Wolfe also was placed on IR and the Broncos replaced him by promoting offensive tackle Vinston Painter, their sixth-round draft pick from Virginia Tech who spent the entire season on Denver’s practice squad.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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