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Cravens: ‘I’m not a quitter’

The recently traded-for safety set the record straight at his first official Broncos’ news conference.

NFL: Preseason-Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Su’a Cravens is elated to be with the Broncos.

More specifically, he’s elated to be WANTED by the Broncos.

“I felt like they really wanted me,” the former Redskins safety said, noting he heard from a bunch of teams after his name was put on the trading block. “This team wants you, that team wants you - but I always felt like it was more of a strategic move for teams like, ‘We don’t necessarily need him but we just don’t want him playing on a team we play twice a year.’”

But the vibe was different in Denver.

“When it came to the Broncos it felt like, ‘Nah, we want him. We want him here, and he has a role here that he can come in and play,’” Cravens said in his first official Broncos news conference Monday. “That’s all I’ve been looking for - a place where they want me.”

He felt so wanted, in fact, Cravens posted a video on Twitter singing “A Whole New World” from the Aladdin soundtrack.

A little cheesy, perhaps, but Cravens didn’t care.

He was feeling it.

“It was organic. I woke up to about 20 missed calls and had a feeling what they were for. Once I found out exactly what it was, I was that happy,” Cravens said, adding that he downloaded the song just so he could do the tweet. “I just felt like I needed to express myself and let everybody know I was glad to be coming here.”

Cravens was picked up by the Redskins in the second round of the 2016 draft as the 53rd overall pick. He suffered a concussion in his rookie season and was placed on the retired/left list in 2017. After being cleared to play again last December, Cravens knew he wanted to be somewhere that wanted him - and Washington was never going to be that place.

With all the talk that Cravens “quit on his team,” the safety wanted to clear that up for the Denver media once and for all.

“I think there’s a false narrative on what exactly happened. ...One day I’ll be able to speak a little further on that, but I’m not a quitter,” he said, adding he’s just here to win games for the Broncos. “I’m not a guy who lacks love for the game.”

Cravens told reporters he “was going through something” last season that he wasn’t even really aware of until the team placed him on its exempt list and he sought the help of post-concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins. Collins, who works with the University of Pittsburgh sports medicine concussion program, cleared Cravens last December to go back to football.

“I didn’t really know what was going on until I went to see Dr. Collins and he made me fully aware of the situation. At first I just thought that something was wrong with me, something’s not right and I didn’t feel the same,” Cravens acknowledged. “Everything started making sense and once we started working on it, progressively I got better and better.”

Now Cravens says he will not take this second opportunity for granted.

“As a kid you grow up thinking you’re going to play until you’re 40 years old and retire with a house on the hill. ...I just thought, ‘Football will always be there. Football is a sport that I love to play and it’s always going to be an option that I have,’” he said, noting that having had it taken away and out of his control reminded him that he loves the sport. “I’m 100 percent committed to it.”

He’s also 100 percent ready for a new start.

“Yeah, I wanted a fresh start just because I don’t like the way things happened. It wasn’t a part of my plan. I never thought at 22 years old that I’d be at the house watching football instead of playing football,” he said. “The fact that the Broncos gave me this fresh start and a chance to basically create a new image of myself, I just can’t wait. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

It didn’t hurt that John Elway personally called on Cravens - or that Von Miller texted him to welcome him to Denver.

“When [Elway] called me, I actually got so star-struck that I was just like, (stumbling sound),” he said. “It was good; it was a surreal feeling. I not only got a call from him but got a text from Von Miller, so it was a good day.”

But mostly, Cravens is excited to play in this defense.

“If you love football and you like to watch a defense that flies around, then you watch the Broncos,” he said. “They play hard. Everybody flies to the ball but it seems like everybody has fun. I want to be a part of an atmosphere that’s energetic and guys that just want to win no matter how they get it done.”