When the Broncos set their 53-man, season-opening roster Saturday, they really meant it was set for one day.
The Broncos claimed third-year safety Calvin Lowry, an 11-game starter for Tennessee last year, off waivers Sunday. Lowry, 25, was selected by the Titans out of Penn State in the fourth-round pick of the 2006 draft and was among the league's surprise cuts Saturday.
The Broncos also signed former Chicago Bears running back P.J. Pope to their practice squad. Pope is a 5-foot-9, 205-pound back from Bowling Green, where he was a teammate of Broncos' backup center Kory Lichtensteiger.
The Broncos released tight end Brett Pierce, who had been placed on their waived/injured list, but will have to make one more cut to make room for Lowry.
The Broncos initially had four safeties on their 53-man roster: Marlon McCree, Marquand Manuel, Hamza Abdullah and Roderick Rogers. From that group, Lowry would be considered the hardest hitter in run support, a role vacated when veteran John Lynch abruptly left training camp in late-July. Lynch later signed with New England, where he was cut Sunday, although the expectation is he will re-sign with the Patriots after the season's first game.
Meanwhile, the Broncos brought back four players who were cut Saturday to their practice Sunday, including No. 3 quarterback Darrell Hackney. No. 3 quarterbacks on practice squads can be activated almost on a moment's notice.
Hackney played well in the Broncos' final preseason game at Arizona, completing 17 of 26 passes for 208 yards and rushing for another 40 yards before taking four knees to run out the clock. But with the Broncos" 53-man roster already carrying the injured Ryan Torain, Tom Nalen, Boss Bailey and Ebenezer Ekuban, the team couldn't afford the luxury of keeping a third quarterback on its active list.
Hackney was waived Saturday, one the Broncos' 20 roster moves, and was one of four players brought back to their practice squad Sunday. Also re-signed to the practice squad were offensive guard/tackle Mitch Erickson, defensive tackle Steven Harris and safety Josh Barrett.
The Broncos still have three practice-squad openings, an indication they are trying to sign players cut from other teams.