April 11, 2015

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) James Casey brings both versatility and familiarity to Dove Valley.

The free-agent tight end who agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos on Saturday played for coach Gary Kubiak in Houston from 2009-12.

He spent his last two seasons in Philadelphia, where he worked primarily as a run-blocker in Chip Kelly's offense and made his mark on special teams. He led the league last year with 439 special teams snaps, collecting 13 tackles and blocking two punts.

Casey, the only player in the NFL to play 900 snaps on special teams and 900 snaps from scrimmage over the last three seasons, was more of a target under Kubiak with the Texans.

Their last year together, Casey caught a career-best 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns while often working in two-tight end packages with Owen Daniels, another free agent tight end who joined the Broncos this offseason.

Casey, 30, also gives the Broncos another option at fullback to go with Juwan Thompson and Joe Don Duncan as Kubiak reintroduces the run-blocking scheme in Denver.

Casey first visited the Broncos in February as part of his free agency tour following his release from the Eagles. He'll sign his contract Monday, when the Broncos begin their offseason program.

Casey was drafted as a pitcher out of high school by the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and turned to football after topping out at rookie ball in three years. At Rice, he caught 17 touchdown passes and ran for 11 TDs in 25 games. In 2008, he set school records with 111 catches for 1,329 yards, and the Texans selected him in the fifth round in 2009.

Casey is the sixth player with ties to Kubiak that the Broncos have acquired this offseason, joining Daniels, Darian Stewart, Gino Gradkowski, Shelley Smith and Antonio Smith.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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

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