Chase Vaughn called in sick last week, telling his bosses at National Jewish Health where he answered phone calls from people wanting to stop smoking or lose weight that he had the stomach flu. He was actually interviewing for another job. And when he was hired for that new gig this week, he had to go back to the hospital and fess up. "I said, 'Thank you guys for the opportunity, but this is once in a lifetime. This is what I've been working toward for five years. And I'd like to put in two weeks' notice and be professional about it, but obviously I can't do that right now,' " Vaughn recounted in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "And they understood. They were like, 'OK, well, it's the Broncos, so go ahead.' " Vaughn is a 25-year-old longshot linebacker who was added to Denver's 90-man offseason roster this week after an impressive tryout at the team's rookie minicamp last weekend. "Oh man, it's incredible. Probably the first thing I felt, honestly, was relief because it's been such a long, weird journey," said Vaughn, who's playing in his fifth professional football league. Vaughn (6-foot-2 and 248 pounds) attended Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado, and then went to Division II Adams State. But when the coaching staff there was fired after his sophomore season, he was allowed to transfer in conference and he went to Colorado State-Pueblo, where he helped resurrect the ThunderWolves' program. In his first game, he broke the NCAA Division II record with 4½ sacks against Oklahoma Panhandle State and finished with 10½ sacks that season. He added five more as a senior and graduated in 2009 with a degree in exercise science. That's when his long, strange journey really began. It started with his first of three stints with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, where he was cut at the end of training camp. He returned to his home state and played five games for the Colorado Ice of the Indoor Football League before being summoned back to Las Vegas, where he was cut a second time. This time, though, he immediately signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, where he once again was cut at the end of training camp. So, it was back to Las Vegas, where he made the team this time.