ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos signed long-time long snapper David Binn on Friday after Lonie Paxton was ruled out of their divisional playoff game against New England so he could continue dealing with a family issue.
Binn, who turns 40 next month, spent 17 seasons with the division rival San Diego Chargers from 1994-2010, appearing in 256 regular season games, a dozen playoff games and one Pro Bowl.
The Chargers cut ties with Binn, their last link to their 1994 Super Bowl team, in August because of questions about his durability and Mike Windt's outstanding camp.
Binn injured a hamstring in the 2010 season opener at Kansas City and missed the rest of the year, ending his team-record streak of 179 consecutive games played. Still, his release last summer was a shock to kicker Nate Kaeding and punter Mike Scifres, who called him a perfectionist at delivering them the ball with the laces in the right place.
To make room for Binn, the Broncos waived fullback Austin Sylvester, who was signed after Spencer Larsen sustained a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. Sylvester didn't play last week as the Broncos used multiple-tight end sets instead in their win over Pittsburgh.
Paxton has been dealing with an undisclosed family issue all week and was officially ruled out Friday along with receiver Eric Decker (knee).
Right guard Chris Kuper was Paxton's backup during the regular season but he broke his left leg two weeks ago and was placed on injured reserve.
Paxton was a big part of the Broncos' spectacular special teams, which helped them recover from a 1-4 start to end a six-year playoff drought. He had just one errant snap all season, leading to a botched extra point.
With Paxton long-snapping, Prater nailed a series of game-winning field goals, three of them in overtime, and Colquitt set a single-season franchise record in gross punting average (47.4 yards) and net punting average (40.2). His 33 punts inside the 20 ranked second in the league.
Paxton is a 12th-year pro who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots before joining the Broncos in 2009.
On Thursday, Prater and Colquitt said Paxton was doing the right thing by putting family ahead of football, even in the playoffs.
"You have your priorities: family, faith and football," Prater said. "I think in that order, too."
The Broncos listed strong safety Brian Dawkins as doubtful for Saturday night. Pro Bowl pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil (right ankle) and Von Miller (right thumb) are listed as probable as are tight end Daniel Fells (ankle) and safety David Bruton (Achilles). Miller was a full participant in practice; the others were limited.
The well-rested and top-seeded Patriots listed 13 players as questionable after limited participation in practice during the week.