CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The Broncos can’t get a break at tight end. For the fourth time in the last five seasons, a promising rookie will miss the entire season because of injury.
This year, the bad luck struck Austin Fort, who was undrafted out of Wyoming. Fort has impressed coaches through training camp and was well on his way to making the 53-man roster. But Thursday night in Seattle, Fort’s Cinderella story came to an end when he tore his ACL.
“You never like to see that with a young kid like Austin,” Joe Flacco said. “I’m sure he’s pretty broken up right now.”
Fort’s misfortune is the latest blow to a Broncos tight end room that hasn’t been able to lock down a starting tight end since Julius Thomas. No one has endured more than Denver’s 2017 fifth round pick Jake Butt.
“It’s absolutely frustrating. It’s been the hardest thing mentally that I’ve ever had to go through. I put the work in every day. I want to be out there more than anything in the world,” Jake Butt said.
Butt missed his entire rookie season recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in a college bowl game. He finally got his chance the next year, but three games into the 2018 season, Butt went down with another ACL tear, this time on the opposite leg.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this would have broken the average man, 10 times over. But not me,” Butt said.
Butt was supposed to be ready to go at the start of training camp, but he keeps hitting speed bumps on the road to recovery.
“I went nine months without any of this, so it’s frustrating. But it’s part of the game and part of recovery. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I just put my head down and get back out there,” Butt said.
After sitting out most of this year’s camp, Butt finally got back on the field in Sunday morning’s practice.
“It felt good being back out there. I’m just working my way back in, not doing anything crazy. Obviously it’s better to be on the field than in the training room. It’s just good to be back out there.”
Butt says Sunday was the first step in his comeback and hopes to be ready before the regular season opener in Oakland.
“I can’t make the team without taking any live reps in the preseason,” Butt said.