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Jaleel McLaughlin bringing 'bull' mentality, could see expanded role in Broncos' backfield

When Denver Broncos running back Jaleel McLaughlin scored in Sunday’s comeback win over the Chicago Bears, the undrafted rookie dug his feet in the dirt like a raging bull. McLaughlin said the celebration is symbolic of his mentality.

"Every time a bull goes out, they mark their territory," McLaughlin said, via the Denver Post. "I try to bring that aspect of me being a bull (and) wanting to win."

McLaughlin kicked off the Broncos' scoring on Sunday in Chicago by taking a screen pass 18 yards to pay dirt. After the Denver offense went into a lull, McLaughlin again jumpstarted the unit in the third quarter. His 31-yard scamper and 11-yard reception on a late third-quarter drive led to a Brandon Johnson touchdown, and the comeback was on.

With Javonte Williams nursing a hip injury on Sunday, McLaughlin led the Broncos (1-3) with seven rushes for 72 yards (10.3 average) and added three catches for 32 yards (third-most) and the score.

"He was explosive in the run and the pass," head coach Sean Payton said of the rookie. "He gave us some juice, so we'll continue to look at his role."

Williams' injury isn't expected to keep the starter out long, but McLaughlin showed Sunday that he's worth a larger role even when the backfield is healthy. The 187-pound running back could be a Darren Sproles-type difference-maker for Payton's offense moving forward, starting this Sunday against the New York Jets.

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