ENGLEWOOD • The best way for Denver Broncos defensive end Vonnie Holliday to extend his NFL career was by exercising alongside the housewives of Atlanta.

Holliday, who is 33, was coming off knee surgery and waiting for a team to sign him this offseason. He needed to stay in shape but had to take it easy on his knee, so he went to a gym near his home and did underwater aerobics, yoga, core exercises and even took a spin class — an indoor cycling workout.

“I’m trying to outwork these women, but they work hard,” Holliday said.

“I encourage anybody out there who wants to take a joke or stab or laugh at me for taking these classes, join me in the offseason and do some of this work, see if you make it through.”

When the workouts dragged into the preseason and teams like Denver, New England, Minnesota and Carolina showed interest but didn’t sign him, Holliday wondered when he would sign. The Broncos signed him before the season opener, because an injury to end Le Kevin Smith left them a bit thin on the line.

Holliday felt young, healthy and fresh after not going through training camp, and he has played well for the Broncos.

He has two sacks, including a huge play against New England in which he caused quarterback Tom Brady to fumble.

Holliday has been a good influence on Denver’s younger players, but that’s not why Denver signed him.  

“We’d love all of our players to have the same leadership qualities Vonnie Holliday does, but we knew Vonnie Holliday could still be an active, productive football player in our scheme,” coach Josh McDaniels said.