JERSEY CITY, N.J. — When defensive end Jeremy Mincey signed with Denver last month, he couldn't believe defensive tackle Terrance Knighton had tried to ditch his nickname "Pot Roast."
"I'm like, 'Dude, that's a great name. Like, it makes you seem colossal," Mincey recounted.
The 6-foot-3 330-pound Knighton has sure come up huge for the Broncos in the playoffs.
Knighton, who was teammates with Mincey in Jacksonville from 2009-12, helped hold New England's bruising running back LeGarrette Blount to 6 yards on five carries in the AFC Championship a week after his four-TD game against Indianapolis.
Knighton also dumped Tom Brady for a sack on a crucial fourth down, then busted out some smooth dance moves.
"He had an outstanding game," Mincey said. "He's a good player, man. Listen, he's always been like that. It didn't surprise me. It might have surprised a lot of people, but it didn't surprise me."
The Broncos could use an encore performance out of Knighton against Seattle Seahawks running back Marshall Lynch and elusive quarterback Russell Wilson in the Super Bowl so that Peyton Manning and his record-shattering offense can get on the field to do their thing.
Mincey said he expects a gargantuan game out of his buddy, big enough, he said, to make "Pot Roast" as much a part of Super Bowl lore as William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
"Dude, dude, there's no limits to this kid, man. He's phenomenally athletic. He can run for his size. He's very intelligent. I mean, he's basically built for this game," Mincey said. "I don't know what other way to put it, he's built for this game."
As for his nickname, Knighton, a fifth-year pro out of Temple, said he was so ready to start anew after so many losing seasons in Jacksonville that when he signed his two-year, $4.5 million deal in Denver, he even wanted a new moniker.
At his introductory news conference, he asked for suggestions on Twitter. Nobody came up with anything better, but some of his teammates in Denver did start calling him T-Knight — until Mincey arrived in mid-December after his release from the Jaguars.
"I didn't know he was re-establishing himself or trying to get away from that name," Mincey said. "I think they got back to it when I first got here and I'm like, 'Yeah, it's an honor playing with my boy Pot Roast again."
Mincey told him to embrace it.
"I said, 'Dude, you get a nickname in the NFL, man, take it and run with it."
And so he has — even though he's not really a huge fan of the dish. He said he's only had it twice, once during his rookie season in Jacksonville in 2009 and again earlier this month when he took Denver's entire defensive line out to dinner.
Like any good nickname, Knighton didn't get to choose it himself. It was bestowed upon him by former Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram on a flight home from Seattle his rookie year.
"It was a six-hour flight, guys are tired, plane is dark and the lady is walking down the aisle saying, 'Pot roast? Pot roast? And I'm like, 'Right here. My teammate behind me was like, 'You're saying that like that's your name. I'm going to call you 'Pot Roast.' And then it stuck with me," Knighton recounted.
"It was either that or shrimp alfredo. So, I'm glad I got that."