The one constant during the Broncos’ offseason program was rookie linebacker Baron Browning watching instead of participating.
A third-round pick, Browning’s lower leg injury — “more of a bone thing than a ligament thing” according to coach Vic Fangio — cost him valuable learning time.
“That’s been probably the biggest negative of this offseason work, him not getting the work that he would have gotten (if healthy),” Fangio said.
Fangio said Browning will be “full go and ready to go by training camp,” next month.
“We’re still very high on him and very optimistic,” Fangio said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to carve out a role on this team both defensively and on special teams. I’m anxious to get him back working in training camp.”
After the draft, the Broncos’ Plan A was to put Browning at inside linebacker and keep him there. But …
“He has versatility,” Fangio said. “He could play some outside for us and he could play some inside. We’d like to settle him in (at) one spot, but we may not be able to, especially with the injury. We’ll see how that evolves.”
One theory could be that the Broncos are pleased enough with Justin Strnad as a sub-package inside linebacker, they could get Browning work as an edge rusher/defender to provide more depth behind Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed.
Roster moves. The Broncos signed receivers Amara Darboh and De’Mornay Pierson-El on Thursday, both of whom participated in minicamp as tryout players.
To make room on the 90-man roster, the Broncos waived outside linebacker Natrez Patrick with an injury designation and punter Max Duffy.
Darboh played 16 games for Seattle in ’17 and Pierson-El has played in the CFL, AAF and XFL, but no regular-season NFL games.
“Greek” honored. On the floor of the House of Representatives this week in Washington, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Col.) introduced a resolution to recognize Steve “Greek” Antonopulos, who retired June 7 after 45 years with the Broncos, including 36 as the head athletic trainer.
Antonopulos grew up in Hugo, which is in Buck’s congressional district.
“On behalf of the Fourth District of Colorado, I extend my best wishes to Mr. Antonopulos and his family. Madam Speaker, I am honored to recognize Steve Antonopulos for his accomplishments.”
Broncos nominated. The Broncos were named a finalist for 2021 Sports Humanitarian of the Year, awarded annually by ESPN “to a sports franchise that demonstrates how teamwork can create a measurable impact on a community or cause.”
Also nominated were the Atlanta Dream (WNBA), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) and the New York City Football Club (MLS).
The Broncos were also a finalist last year. In a statement, president/CEO Joe Ellis saluted Allie Engelken, Liz Jeralds, Bobby Mestas and Katie Shuster of the team’s community development staff. Denver Broncos Charities will receive a $25,000 grant for being a finalist; the winning franchise receives a $100,000 grant.
The Broncos volunteered more than 850 hours of service, contributed more than $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, invested $300,000 to renovate the Broncos Boys & Girls Club and supported 35 local non-profits through donations.
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