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Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy injures hamstring at practice

Payton does not believe team is 'snake bitten'
Broncos 49ers Football
Posted at 2:03 PM, Aug 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 16:15:09-04

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The numbers remain startling, a testament to the challenge of staying healthy at altitude and rotten luck.

Of the Broncos top seven receivers entering training camp, six have suffered injuries this summer. Jerry Jeudy, the team’s No. 1 target, joined the list on a sun-bleached Thursday, suffering a right hamstring injury that required him to exit the practice field at Centura Training Center on a cart.

Jeudy will undergo an MRI on Thursday, and coach Sean Payton said he is hopeful that it is not a “long-term” situation. However, the fact that Jeudy could not place weight on the leg and the typical recovery for hamstrings is lengthy, it suggests the former Alabama star could miss multiple weeks.

The Broncos had double-digit hamstring injuries a year ago with everyone from Russell Wilson and K.J. Hamler to Courtland Sutton and Andrew Beck. Coach Sean Payton sees the injury bug through a lens that does not include the cynicism of last season.

“I am pleased with where we are at. We have two significant ones with an achilles (Tim Patrick) and an ACL (Jonas Griffith). It’s just me but I don’t believe in being snake bitten. I think we have had a really good offseason program with (vice president of player health and performance) Beau (Lowery) and these guys doing a great job with a number of players coming back from injury like Justin (Simmons) and (Mike) McGlinchey. You are going to see these players healthy and ready for Las Vegas,” Payton said.

“I think if you looked around and truly tried to analytically evaluate the 31 other teams – I can’t speak to a year ago where we were at this time – but I don’t think we are going through anything unusual," he continued. "The soft tissues are the ones I feel like – those are the ones that are preventative. Those are the ones you look to improve on.”

While showing progress throughout camp, Jeudy experienced a tough week. He dropped three passes on Wednesday, and after bouncing back early in the practice vs. the Rams, he pulled up lame after a reverse, immediately grabbing the back of his right leg.

The Broncos depth has been tested. Patrick (achilles) is lost for the season, Jeudy figures to miss time, Hamler was cut with a heart condition, rookie Marvin Mims Jr. missed the first week or so of camp with his second hamstring issue, a sprained ankle sidelined Brandon Johnson for two weeks and Jalen Virgil was placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a torn meniscus in his knee suffered in the second preseason game. Even Kendall Hinton, whose football IQ and route running have solidified his roster spot, missed the first few days of camp as he recovered from June knee surgery.

For Jeudy, the timing stinks. Given Patrick’s absence and Jeudy’s finish to 2023, this set up for his breakthrough season, like in the range of 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. The Broncos don’t open their season until Sept. 10 against the Raiders, so it’s not impossible for Jeudy to return. But given his position – where speed and quick cuts are required – it will be an uphill climb to be ready in 17 days, especially if he is unable to practice during that time.

With Jeudy hurt, it opens the door for players like Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, Marquez Callaway, and Montrell Washington to potentially make the team, though it would likely only be one or two of them. It’s possible the Broncos will explore the trade market or waiver wire as well for depth. The top three healthy receivers now are Sutton, Hinton, and Johnson, who returned this week.


Payton has not decided on the playing time for his starters on Saturday. If they do play, it will likely only be for one series. …

Matthew Stafford looked sharp for the Rams on big plays. But the Broncos produced two interceptions, one from Josey Jewell and one from Essang Bassey.