DENVER -- Broncos strength coach Luke Richesson formed a reputation as a leader in his industry, as a open-minded thinker embraced by players because of his ability to reduce soft-tissue injuries.
Friday, he exited for a significant position with the Houston Texans, similar to one held with the Broncos but with added responsibilities. Assistant Anthony Lomando is considered a possibility for a promotion to the top spot. Mike Eubanks, a longtime assistant, and Cedric Smith are likely candidates as well.
Richesson had one year remaining on his contract, but the Broncos granted him permission to talk with Houston. As recently as 2013, Richesson won NFL Strength Coach of the Year honors. He arrived in Denver in 2012, bringing in new technology, while incorporating new ways to strength players and monitor their workouts.
"Love Luke," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told Denver7 on Friday. "I feel like he was huge in keeping us healthy."
Added linebacker Brandon Marshall to Denver7, "It makes me sad. Luke helped me develop my body from my practice squad days. Great coach. Even better man."
Richesson joined the Broncos after three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and seven working at Athletes Performance in Arizona. Lomando and Eubanks arrived with Richesson. The Broncos hired Smith last season, coach Vance Joseph's first with the team.
What's up with Walker?
The Broncos have yet to decide where DeMarcus Walker will play next season. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods told Denver7 recently that the final determination of Walker's position would likely arrive after the draft. Walker was selected in the second round a year ago as an inside pass rushing defensive end. However, when Shane Ray tore ligaments in his left wrist in training camp, Walker shifted to outside linebacker. He never gained traction, often inactive on game day. Walker registered a sack in the season finale.
Walker told Denver7 he dropped nearly 30 pounds form his college weight of 272 after switching positions and dealing with food poisoning. While a decision has not been made on his spot, Walker will need to add weight regardless. He could play outside linebacker at 255 or so, and then add from there if he shifts back inside.