Lelie will get cash back from Broncos
By Pat Graham
By Pat Graham
DENVER — The Denver Broncos must pay $220,000 to former receiver Ashley Lelie in connection with the dispute over his departure to Atlanta.
Lelie's agent, Peter Schaffer, confirmed the news yesterday.
"We derive no enjoyment having to go down this road in the first place," Schaffer said.
The ruling was reported yesterday by The Denver Post, which said an arbitrator ruled in favor of Lelie in his grievance against the team. Broncos officials declined to comment.
Lelie, a former University of Hawai'i standout who led the league in yards per catch the past two seasons, skipped the Broncos' offseason workout program, forgoing a $100,000 bonus. He said he wanted out of Denver because the Broncos were misusing him and weren't giving him the chance to be the featured receiver with Rod Smith and Javon Walker on the roster.
He was sent to Atlanta as part of a three-way trade with Washington in August.
At the time, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Lelie had agreed to pay Denver a "hefty amount" to get out of the final year of his contract.
Lelie argued he was forced into signing a document giving up some of the money.
"It feels good to have that money back in my pocket," Lelie told the Post after the Falcons' practice yesterday. "To lose that much money, cash, after taxes, is kind of tough, so it feels good to have that back in my pocket."
The case isn't over. The Broncos also have a grievance that will be heard in coming weeks.
"I'm not out of the woods yet," Lelie said.