Denver’s Josey Jewell ruled out for opener with calf strain

DENVER (AP) — Inside linebacker Josey Jewell, who missed most of last season with a torn chest muscle, was ruled out for the Denver Broncos’ season opener at Seattle on Monday night because of a strained calf.

First-year coach Nathaniel Hackett said newcomer Alex Singleton would “take most of” the snaps in Jewell’s place, but that Justin Strnad would also play.

Jewell got hurt in practice Thursday.

The Broncos’ other starting inside linebacker, Jonas Griffith, is returning from an elbow injury he sustained in the preseason opener against Dallas. He was a full participant in practice all week and Hackett declared him ready to go.

Jewell, 27, was a part-time starter with the Broncos his first two years in Denver. He had a breakout season in 2020 when he started all 16 games and had a career-best 113 tackles.

He was off to a terrific start last season when he tore a pectoral muscle making a tackle on punt coverage in Week 2 at Jacksonville and missed the rest of the season.

That didn’t stop general manager George Paton from rewarding Jewell with a two-year, $11 million deal that includes a guaranteed $6 million.

“It means a lot and there was a little bit of stress last year with that and being hurt, just watching from the sidelines and trying to help out as much as I could. But now this year, I know that I can just go out there and play my football,” Jewell said shortly after signing his contract in the summer. “I don’t have to be too worried about things, I can just go out there, enjoy it, communicate and play physical ball. I’m excited for that.”

Jewell was added to the Broncos’ injury report Thursday and he was held out of Denver’s practices Friday and Saturday before being ruled out Sunday.

The Broncos open at Seattle in Russell Wilson’s return to the city where he spent the first 10 years of his career. It also marks the debut of Hackett and his three first-time coordinators.

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