March 14, 2015

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Shelley Smith won't have to dole out anything for a moving van. Or rent another home for that matter. Or fly the family cross-country to get to his job now.

The versatile guard who's played in Houston, St. Louis and Miami signed a two-year, $5.65 million deal with the Denver Broncos after visiting the Seattle Seahawks.

Smith has kept a home in Denver since leaving Colorado State for the NFL in 2010, when Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, then with the Houston Texans, drafted him in the sixth round.

Smith didn't get to play for the Texans that year because he was hurt, but he did get a crash course in the zone-blocking scheme, which he found was a good fit for his skills and nimble, 6-foot-4, 310-pound frame.

''I was very excited to come back to Colorado,'' Smith said Saturday. ''I went to college here. It's kind of been our home base ever since then. Every offseason, no matter where we've been, I've came back and worked out here and kind of made it our home base. We're really excited to be here.''

Of the five free agents the Broncos added to their roster in the last week, three have ties to Kubiak. Aside from Smith, tight end Owen Daniels played eight seasons for Kubiak in Houston and followed him to Baltimore last year, and safety Darian Stewart played for the Ravens in 2014.

Working for Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was a major appeal to Smith, who is ''excited to be a part of that again. Obviously the zone blocking scheme has proven to be a very good system and I think it fits my capabilities pretty well. I'm familiar with it, so the terminology, I kind of know what to expect.''

Smith will compete with Ben Garland to replace Orlando Franklin at left guard. Franklin signed a five-year, $35.5 million contract with the rival San Diego Chargers, one of four starters the Broncos lost to free agency.

Smith was in the midst of a solid season in Miami last year when he was hampered by a knee injury.

''The knee is 100 percent. It's good to go,'' Smith said Saturday.

Jettisoned by the Dolphins last week, Smith's first visit was to Seattle.

''The visit with Seattle was fine, but I felt like this would be a lot better fit for me,'' he said. ''I thought that the Broncos had all the pieces from top to bottom - front office to the coaches to the players - all the pieces are there to be very successful and win a Super Bowl. I just was excited and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.''

He had Denver in his sights after Kubiak took over for John Fox. Not only is it home, but it's where he regularly works out in the offseason with trainer Loren Landow.

''I feel like he does a really great job of preparing guys to play any sport really, but particularly the NFL,'' Smith said. ''To be able to come back and work with him, obviously he has the high elevation as well, so there is a number of different factors.''

Among those was the chance to play with Peyton Manning, who's been a magnet for free agents ever since he joined the Broncos in 2012.

''Like I was saying before, I felt like the Broncos have all the pieces in place to be very successful. Of course Peyton Manning is a big piece of that,'' Smith said. ''To be able to play with a future Hall of Famer, I think a lot of guys would jump at that opportunity. I'm very excited to work with him.''

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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