The injury bug hit the Denver Broncos hard throughout the 2020 season. However, before that bug bit rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, he flashed plenty of promise that should have all of Broncos Country excited to see how well he and fellow tight end Noah Fant exploit defenses together next season.
Okwuegbunam’s rookie season came to a sudden halt on a seven yard reception to convert a third down against the Atlanta Falcons on November 8th. He played in just four games, but finished with 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in that limited playing time.
Now, a little over three months into his rehab process, we have gotten our first update on how that is going for him.
“Rehab has been a great process for me,” Okwuegbunam told DenverBroncos.com last week. “[I] had a great start and no real problems with rehab. It’s been pretty smooth, so just getting better every day. … Surgery was fine. That was my first surgery ever, so I was kind of nervous about that, but that was super smooth, it was good.”
One guy who has been key to Okwuegbunam’s mental adjustment to rehab has been Broncos’ star wide receiver Courtland Sutton who was also lost for the season when he tore his ACL in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Courtland’s been awesome,” Okwuegbunam said. “I think that’s going to be huge for me and him and other young guys too ... just because he does a really good job of bringing energy into the training room every day. The fact that he’s a couple weeks ahead of me, I can use him as a reference [and ask] ‘As I’m doing this, is this normal? When you dealt with this, how did you overcome that?’ He’s been really great. I couldn’t ask for a better older guy to help with the process.”
While the injury bug last season was absolutely devastating for us fans to see each week, at least there was some good that came out of it through Sutton working with a young guy like Okwuegbunam deal with the mental side of the long and grueling rehab process. It’s definitely good to hear that things are progressing right on schedule for Okwuegbunam here.
That wide receiver and tight end group is clearly this team’s strength heading into next season. And while the quarterback debates rage in Broncos Country this offseason, getting both of those guys back 100% for next season is going to be huge regardless of who ends up under center.