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Montee Ball is confident he can take over as the Denver Broncos' starting running back now that Knowshon Moreno has signed elsewhere, but he said Wednesday that he knows he'll still have to prove he's ready for the role to the team's decision-makers.
"I know for a fact they're not going to hand it to me, they're going to make sure we all get our opportunities throughout camp and throughout OTAs ... but it's going to be who's the most productive," Ball said. "But for me, my mentality is that it is my job."
Moreno signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins this offseason, and Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson are the only other backs on the roster with an NFL carry on their resumes.
Ball said Moreno's departure was "a great opportunity for me and the other running backs to step up to the plate."
Moreno topped 1,000 yards rushing and also had 60 receptions. Ball, after some early fumble troubles -- he lost three fumbles in the team's first 10 games -- settled in nicely as a rookie after being selected in the second round of last April's draft.
He didn't lose the ball the remainder of the season and finished with 559 yards rushing and four touchdowns. His 4.7 yards per carry was tops among the team's top three backs.
"I don't want them to bring another running back in," Ball said. "I want it to be my job and that's how I'm approaching it -- in the most humble way possible. Like I said, I understand they're not going to hand it to me, but I'm going to work really, really hard to contribute."
Ball has already received a key vote of confidence as quarterback Peyton Manning has endorsed Ball's readiness for the job, having said last month that Ball has "the work ethic'' and "mental capabilities to handle the workload.''
ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.