Trevor Siemian wasn’t handed QB job, he won it

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Trevor Siemian is the Denver Broncos starting quarterback. Some may be surprised by that, but let it be known Chris Harris Jr. tried to warn you.

In late May, the Broncos’ Pro Bowl cornerback strolled off the practice field and dropped this little bit of foreshadowing: “Trevor has a maturity to him. He’s kind of the sleeper, I would say. Of course Mark [Sanchez] and Paxton [Lynch] are going to be the headlines, but Trevor knows the offense. He’s very comfortable and can throw the ball, too. We’ve also seen him make big plays in the preseason games under the lights. I wouldn’t sleep on Trevor to win the job.’’

Well, hello Football America, because Siemian has won the job. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak made the announcement in a team meeting Monday morning that Siemian would start Sept. 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

“I’ve always got the itch to play,’’ he said. “I don’t like sitting out too long.

“It was tough just because I love my teammates. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They were a part of me during the whole struggle [with cancer]. It was definitely hard not to be here and let alone [not] practice but just [not] being around them on a daily basis. That was kind of tough for me.’’

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick in San Francisco for four seasons before leaving for the Michigan job last year. Harbaugh benched Alex Smith in favor of Kaepernick in 2012, giving Kaepernick an opportunity to rise to a higher profile in the NFL.

Harbaugh’s brother — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh — said Monday that he respected Kaepernick’s right to protest, even if he doesn’t agree with how he’s doing it.

“Voltaire so eloquently stated, ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend it until death your right to say it,'” John Harbaugh said. “That’s a principle that our country is founded on. I don’t think you cannot deny someone the right to speak out or mock or make fun or belittle anybody else’s opinion.”

John Harbaugh, however, said it’s a fine line between standing up for what you believe in and not becoming a distraction to the team. He tells his players that you have to make sure you believe what you say publicly because you have to own it.

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