By Romi Bean
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - When the Broncos drafted Jake Butt in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, they knew he wouldn't be ready at the start of the season.
They did hope, however, that Butt would get on the field toward the end of last season. But it wouldn't happen. Well, Broncos fans, Jake Butt is finally completely healthy, and he's ready to be the tight end the broncos need
Butt was projected to go as high as the second round, until he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl - his final game as a collegiate athlete. Butt's misfortune was the Broncos gain. But the Broncos would have to wait - Butt wouldn't see the field his entire rookie season.
"We brought him back last year hoping he was going to be healthy and he wasn't ready to play, so we put him back on the shelf," Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said.
A year on the shelf was harder than he ever imagined
"Emotionally, the hardest part was that I'm so used to being a part of a team and being out there practicing. It hurt a little bit when everyone was out practicing, but I was going to the weight room to lift. It hurts when everyone's watching themselves on film and I'm watching back from afar. I think that the emotional aspect is really the hardest part, but it made me find a new appreciation for this game." Butt said.
With 2018 regular season approaching, Jake Butt is finally ready to go. He took part in all of the offseason training, and he's never felt better
"I think this is probably the best I've felt in my career getting a whole year under my belt with professional strength coaches. Focus on my strength, speed, mobility and all that good stuff. I'm pretty confident saying that this is the best I've ever felt." Butt said.
Everyone seems to agree - Jake Butt will be worth wait.
"Jake is working hard, of course he's hungry because he had to sit out with his injury. But whether or not it's the tight end position or outside the numbers in the wide receiver's spot, he's got the body control to get open. He's going to be a terrific asset for us." Broncos offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said.
"Jake is a competitor. He wants the ball no matter what and I like that. He wants the ball. I love that. He's hungry right now for knowledge, for how to run routes, for leverage. I'm excited for him to keep going," quarterback Case Keenum said of the tight end.
"I'm very excited. He works so hard and he's obviously a playmaker. You watch the guy make plays catching the football. He's a playmaker, so he's going to be a great addition to our offense," Vance Joseph said.
Jake has about one more month to go before he finally gets his chance play on NFL Sunday. So for now, he's enjoying every bit of football he can.
"When something is taken away from you, you really learn to appreciate it that much more. This game is not forever and not for long either."
If you don't want to wait until the season starts to see Jake Butt, you don't have to! Broncos Training Camp begins Saturday, July 28 at UCHealth Training Center. Thirteen practices will be open to the public. So grab some sunscreen and a hat, and get yourself an early look at the 2018 squad.
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