Denver Broncos receiver Tim Patrick missed the entire 2022 season after tearing his ACL in training camp. It was a brutally early ending for the big-bodied receiver on the rise, and in hindsight, exemplified how the season would go for the Broncos.
But with a new year comes new hope. Denver imported Sean Payton, who could immediately cure what ailed the Brocons offense last season.
"At this point, I'm cleared to do everything," Patrick said, via the team's official website. "At this point, I'm just doing repetition to get myself ready to play in a game."
Patrick was on the rise after going undrafted out of Utah in 2017. The 6-foot-4 wideout displayed size, good hands and the ability to line up in multiple spots. His progress was so substantial Broncos GM George Paton inked him to a three-year, $30 million deal in November of 2021 -- a move which looked prescient last offseason with WR contracts going bonkers.
But the ACL tear prematurely wiped out what could have been a big breakout season.
Patrick's injury might have flown under the radar nationally, but it had a disastrous effect on Denver's scheme. While not devastating to a WR corps that still boasted Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, his absence destabilized the plan and forced a shuffling of the lineup.
Patrick's return, hopefully fully healthy after a year of rehab, would be a big boon for Payton's first season. The wideout told Smith Sr. he's already working on cutting on the surgically repaired knee and working on not thinking about the injury.
"I feel like that's going to happen when there's a defender in front of me," Patrick said. "It's either going to be the choice of getting locked up or you're going to get open for a catch. And I want a catch, so I'm not even going to worry about what I've got going on. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get open."