So much for the Denver Broncos’ enviable depth at the wide receiver position.
Losing Tim Patrick to a season-ending injury for a second consecutive season and KJ Hamler to yet another health setback has thinned the number of veteran targets at Russell Wilson’s disposal two weeks before they even play a preseason game.
Coach Sean Payton confirmed Tuesday that Patrick will miss the entire 2023 season after tearing his left Achilles tendon in a noncontact drill a day earlier — and just two days shy of the one-year anniversary of his right ACL tear that sidelined him in 2022.
Hours after Patrick’s injury, Hamler was waived with a non-football injury designation after he was diagnosed with a heart condition while he was working his way back from a torn pectoral muscle in the offseason.
The Broncos are confident Hamler can return in September after he’s fully recovered from pericarditis, a swelling and irritation of the thin saclike tissue surrounding the heart.
Hamler played in seven games last year and went on IR with a torn hamstring in December. He missed all but three games in 2021 with a torn ACL and a hip injury, both of which required surgery.
He was recovering from a torn chest muscle during an offseason workout when he felt chest pains in the weight room as he ramped up for training camp last month. He and his agent met with the Broncos on Monday and were told the team plans to re-sign him when he’s healthy.
Payton said he expects Hamler to miss a month of workouts and another couple of weeks to get in football shape.
“So, we are hopeful that once the symptoms dissipate and he’s cleared then that leaves us a lot of options,” Payton said. “And so we spent a lot of time with he and his agent coming up with the best plan and we feel like we have a good one.”
As for Patrick, he’ll spend a second straight season rehabbing.
“It’s a heartbreaking thing,” said left tackle Garett Bolles, who was Patrick’s roommate when they were rookies in 2017. “Losing a guy like that on offense is tough, but I know that he’s going to come back and be that much stronger.”
The Broncos still have plenty of firepower at receiver in veterans Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton along with free agent additions Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey. They drafted speedster Marvin Mims Jr. out of Oklahoma in the second round. And others vying for a roster spot include Jalen Virgil, Taylor Grimes, Nick Williams and Brandon Johnson.
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