Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton suggested Saturday that running back Javonte Williams will be ready for the start of training camp after missing most of last season with a serious knee injury right
Payton said that while the position isn’t very deep, it’s heavy given the signing of veteran free agent Samaje Perine and the recovery of Williams, who blew out his right knee in a Week 4 game in las vegas
“When we signed Samaje, that’s a guy that gave us flexibility. We know he can play and be an all-around cornerback,” Payton said. “Our current incumbent [Williams] he is doing very well. I would say hopefully he’ll be ready for the start of training camp and that’s good news. His rehabilitation is going well.”
“I don’t want to speak for him or Beau [Lowery, the vice president of player health and performance] or anyone else, but we get the daily reports,” Payton said. “We’re very clear on the information coming out, but I’ve read a lot and I think his rehab is going well. … We’re hoping it’s someone who might not have to go to PUP.”
Williams was among the hottest names in fantasy football heading into his second NFL season in 2022 after a sparkling rookie year in which he scored seven touchdowns and was among the league’s top defensive backs in breaking tackles
On Oct. 2, however, North Carolina’s 2021 second-round pick had a Russell Wilson pitch picked off and dropped for a 1-yard loss by Raiders defensive back Maxx Crosby, who jumped from ‘back just as Williams planted his right. leg
Williams’ knee buckled under the weight of Crosby’s 6-foot-5, 256-pound frame, tearing his ACL, LCL and posterolateral corner, a complex area of tendons and ligaments around the outside of the knee .
Williams was told his road back would be long, but in an interview with The Associated Press at the end of last season, he insisted, “I look forward to getting back on the training camp.”
General manager George Paton said much the same thing at the NFL scouting combine this spring only to walk back those comments in later interviews, saying the team wasn’t sure when he would return, only that it would be this season
Williams’ continued recovery is what prompted the Broncos to sign Perine to a two-year, $7.5 million free agent contract that included a $3 million signing bonus and a salary of 1, $5 million for next season.
“When we signed him, there was still uncertainty” with Williams’ rehab, Payton said. “I was taught a long time ago how to stack them in that position. It’s a tough position in our league.”
The Broncos have three other running backs on their roster: Tyler Badie, Damarea Crockett and Tony Jones Jr., one of six former Saints players the Broncos have signed since Payton was hired.
Jones has just 67 carries for 179 yards and no touchdowns through five NFL starts. Badie and Crockett have four NFL carries for 7 yards and no TDs between them.
Payton said he was keeping a close eye on the running backs in rookie minicamp this weekend: undrafted college free agents Emanuel Wilson of Fort Valley State and Jaleel McLaughlin of Youngstown State plus Jacques Patrick, whose pro resume includes two games with San Francisco in 2021. , when he rushed twice for 12 yards and a score.
“We’ve got a few here that we’re looking at during this camp,” Payton said. “I feel great about our group of veterans that are here in the building.”
Report from The Associated Press.
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