ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Rather than lament missing a game for the first time since 2009, Denver Broncos nose tackle Domata Peko is celebrating his 123-game starting streak that will come to an end this weekend and is vowing to start another one soon.
“I’m just going to work my tail off and try to get a new streak going,” Peko said. “But yeah, 123, thank God for that. That was a good run.”
The longest current streak of consecutive games played by a defensive lineman in the NFL will end this weekend when the Broncos (3-8) visit the Dolphins (4-7) .
Coach Vance Joseph ruled out the tenacious nose tackle Friday because of a sprained ligament in his left knee. Peko was injured in the Broncos’ 21-14 loss at Oakland last week.
“He started what, 123 straight? For a defensive linemen, that’s amazing,” Joseph said. “To not have this next start this weekend is disappointing for him and obviously for our football team.”
Peko joined the Broncos as a free agent this spring after 11 seasons in Cincinnati. He’s played in every game since the 2010 opener.
“He’s playing one of the most physical positions on the field and to be able to stay healthy like that means you’ve got to be tougher and more physical than the guys you play,” teammate Shane Ray said. “That just says a lot about him as a player and what he’s able to do in there, the disruption he creates, the attention he demands, it’s so impressive. And to do it for eight years straight, he’s a beast.”
Peko said he was holding out hope until Friday that he’d be good to go.
“All week I was trying to be positive with it but just running around yesterday and in the pool today, just jogging in there, I just felt that my knee wasn’t stable and being in the trenches, you can’t have a bad wheel,” Peko said.
So, Peko stayed behind Friday when the team flew to Miami.
“I’m going to hang out here and chill here,” Peko said. “Coach and doctors said it was best to stay here because the four-hour flight on the knee, it wouldn’t be any good. So, I’ll be watching here from home and cheering my guys on from here.”
That includes his little cousin, nose tackle Kyle Peko.
“Big shoes to fill,” Kyle Peko said. “I’ve definitely got the nerves going but I’m excited to show what I’ve got as another Peko in the league. So, I’m excited for this opportunity.”
So is his older cousin.
“He looks good,” Domata Peko said. “He reminds me of a young me.”
Also ruled out for Sunday was defensive end Derek Wolfe (neck). He’ll be replaced by Zack Kerr, who had five tackles, including two for a loss, last week.
Peko said he hopes to start another streak next week when the Broncos host the Jets.
“I’m very disappointed, but I’m also grateful that I was able to put that streak together,” Peko said. “It doesn’t happen very often. I was just looking at the streak of guys that are up there to 100-something games started in a row, there’s a lot of DBs, smaller dudes, wide receivers. But to have a nose guard in that category, that’s pretty awesome.”
Notes: RG Ron Leary (back) was also ruled out. Connor McGovern will start at right tackle and Donald Stephenson will replace Allen Barbre at right tackle, Joseph said. … Ray and two others, ILB Todd Davis and DE DeMarcus Walker, are 50-50 after becoming the latest Broncos to get hit hard by the flu. … With CB Aqib Talib suspended for his fight with Raiders WR Michael Crabtree, the Broncos promoted CB Marcus Rios, a rookie from UCLA who’s spent the whole season on Denver’s practice squad.
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