September 05, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Denver defensive end Malik Jackson returned to practice Friday after attending his father's memorial service in New Jersey.

The Broncos backup said he'll be able to play in the opener Sunday night against Indianapolis, albeit with a heavy heart.

''I'll dedicate the game to him but try to go out there and not do anything out of the ordinary,'' Jackson said. ''I'll just try to be where Jack Del Rio puts me and be a playmaker.''

Jodie Jackson, 47, died of complications of a stroke last month in North Carolina, his son said.

''It was unexpected,'' Jackson said. ''I'm still trying to get over it, coupled with just trying to be here with my guys.''

Jackson is a third-year pro from Tennessee who's coming off a breakout year. He started the final five games of the regular season and all three playoff games for the injury-riddled Broncos last season.

He was second on the team with six sacks and led Denver with 11 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits in the regular season. In the playoffs, he had eight tackles, one sack and a pass breakup.

With Derek Wolfe returning from a spinal cord injury that sidelined him much of last year, Jackson is listed as a backup at left defensive end again this season.

Coach John Fox excused him from Thursday's practice so he could travel to Irvington, New Jersey.

''I was lucky enough the team let me go even in a hectic week like this, the first work week, to kind of go put my father to rest and say my goodbyes and see my family,'' Jackson said. ''And I thank the organization from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else now, and I'm going to show my gratitude on that field on Sunday.''

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