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Friday, January 16, 2004

Broncos Want Player's Bonus Returned: The NFL Management Council, on behalf of the Denver Broncos, has filed a grievance against defensive tackle Daryl Gardener seeking return of the $5 million signing bonus promised him in last year's free agent signing. The team wants the $3 million it paid Gardener last year returned and is refusing to pay the additional $2 million it owes the player this year, citing a clause in the contract that says the bonus must be refunded if conduct "detrimental to the team" occurs in the first year of the deal. In this first year, Gardener has consistently fought with the team and publicly berated coach Mike Shanahan on Denver talk radio, leading to a three-game suspension, and ultimately his placement on the injured reserve list for a non-football injury.

There is precedent for the team's actions. In 2001, the Broncos received back $400,000 of a $500,000 signing bonus it paid to wide receiver Eddie Kenison after the team claimed that the player quit the team the night before a key game. However, the signing bonus at issue in this case is much larger, and thus, could have a much greater impact.

Gardener, through the Player's Association, has also filed a grievance against the team, challenging his suspensions.


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