DENVER (CBS4) – Former Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen hoped when he got the operation on his knee after the Super Bowl that he would be able to recover in time to play one more season. That didn’t happen and the team cut him the day before training camp, but that doesn’t mean his former teammates have forgotten about him.
“We were optimistic that the knee would respond and I’d be able to get one more season. That was my goal. I told the training staff I wanted one more year, I want to get to that 10 year mark,” Dreessen said on Xfinity Monday Live! “For whatever reason, throughout the course of my rehab, my quad just kind of refused to come back.”
He said there was some talk about trying to do a restructure and start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
“At the end of the day no doctor was overly optimistic that I’m going to be able to play or play very well,” Dreessen said. “They made the decision … and I totally understood why.”
The original injury happened and Dreessen missed all of training camp last year. And when he suffered another setback he felt that his best playing days were probably over.
“That was a tough pill to swallow knowing that your best days athletically might be behind you, so a lot of emotion going into that.”
Dreessen’s former teammates miss him being around the locker room, especially the tight end corps.
“Dreessen is hilarious. Everything has to be detailed, and if anything is missing, Dreessen is going to point it out,” Broncos tight end Julius Thomas said. “It’s funny because he’ll look down at a diagram and be like, ‘Well, you guys drew this up wrong, and I need it fixed in my book because when the game comes, I’m going to get it right.’ “
Tight end Jacob Tamme said it was tough to see Dreessen go through the injury.
“It’s tough, it happens every year, it happens to all of us,” Tamme said. “It’s definitely tough when a guy like that, that you really enjoy being around; you know he fought, he fought trying to get back for a long time. Hopefully he can get healthy.”
Thomas, looking straight into a CBS4 camera, had a message for Dreessen.
“Dreessen, I’m so appreciative of you teaching me what it takes to be a successful professional, always showing us and demanding, you know, our position group to perform at a high level and pay attention to the details. (That’s) stuff I’ll never forget for the rest of my career,” Thomas said.
Dreessen said he thinks Thomas is going to have an exceptional career.
“He is so gifted athletically, and he’s really raw as far as the technique last year. This spring he was so much fun to watch take on a new role, take on more confidence into his technique. He’s going to be a really, really special player when he continues to refine that.”
He said Thomas has improved on blocking and he’s refining his route running.
“As far as setting guys up and getting open. Last year, a lot of times, he just used his big body to catch everything thrown his way, but once he can refine the techniques to create separation, Wes Welker type separation, he’s going to be that much more open,” Dreessen said.
– By Matthew J. Buettner, CBSDenver.com
Watch more of the video with Joel Dreessen in the Xfinity Monday Live! section.