Broncos sign Peterson; Brown headed to IR

In a move that signals another truncated season for defensive end Courtney Brown, the Denver Broncos on Wednesday signed veteran free agent defensive lineman Kenny Peterson. To create a spot for Peterson, the often-injured Brown was placed on injured reserve.

Courtney Brown Brown

Peterson practiced with the Broncos on Wednesday.

Brown has not played in a game this season and has practiced sparingly since undergoing Aug. 2 surgery on his left knee. The seventh-year veteran is expected to undergo another procedure on his left knee, the fourth since he came into the league, possibly as early as this week.

One of the game's classiest players, but also one of NFL's most star-crossed and disappointing performers, Brown indicated recently that he was frustrated by the lack of progress in his rehabilitation. Team officials were said earlier this week to be mulling the options for Brown and were considering free agent defensive linemen who might replace him on the roster.

The top overall selection in the 2000 draft, Brown has not played a full season since his rookie campaign with the Cleveland Browns.

From 2001-2005, Brown missed 35 games, an average of seven per season, because of knee, ankle, foot, biceps and neck injuries. Adding this season, he will have missed 51 games in his career, while making only 61 appearances, all but one of them starts, in seven years.

It remains to be seen how the latest in a long series of physical setbacks affects Brown's future with the Broncos. He is under contract through the 2009 season.

For his career, Brown has 263 tackles, 19 sacks, six forced fumbles, seven recoveries and 22 passes defensed. The former Penn State star was heralded as a big-time pass rusher coming out of college, and often compared to future Hall of Fame end Bruce Smith, but struggled to get to the quarterback and has never registered more than six sacks in a season.

Peterson, 27, was a third-round choice of the Green Bay Packers in the 2003 draft. Before being released by the Packers in the final wholesale roster cutdown before the start of this season, Peterson had appeared in 34 games, all as a reserve. The former Ohio State star, who can play both tackle and end, had 54 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one recovery and five pass deflections.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.