There was a shining star in the Denver Broncos’ devastating loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.

Baron Browning came into the game as the replacement for the injured Randy Gregory with a lot to prove, and boy, did he deliver.

Unfortunately, Browning left early with a wrist injury, but the hope is the injury is not severe. With the high number of injuries piling up for Denver, they need Browning more than ever.

Before he was a Denver Broncos linebacker, Browning had a long history of overcoming injuries and working harder to always earn and keep his spot.

Football From the Beginning

Browning grew up in Kennedale, Texas.

His mom was an associate principal, and his dad was a Postal Service truck driver. They taught him the importance of hard work at an early age that has stuck with him his whole life.

He started playing football at the age of four. Browning was so much bigger than the other kids that his mom would bring his birth certificate to his games to prove his age to anyone who questioned it.

He played on the varsity football team in high school as a freshman. As a sophomore, he was named the starting safety, although he tore his right labrum in the first game. Browning also ran track and was a member of the powerlifting team in the offseason.

By his junior year, Browning had become one of the top recruits in the country. He received offers from Florida State, the University of Alabama, the University of Michigan, and UCLA. By his senior year, he was rated as a five-star prospect, and 247 Sports, Rivals, and Scout listed him as the No. 1 outside linebacker.

Browning ultimately decided to attend Ohio State after his future coaches paid him an in-home visit that helped solidify his decision.

As a true freshman, he played in 12 games and racked up 14 tackles. He got his first start in his sophomore year.

There was some speculation that he might leave Ohio State after Urban Meyers departed in 2018, but he stayed with the team.

During his four seasons at Ohio State, Browning recorded a total of 110 tackles, seven sacks, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

His most notable play came in his senior year when he strip-sacked University of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the National Championship game.

Jumping Right In

Browning was originally projected to go in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He watched and waited patiently with his family and friends at a draft party in Fort Worth, TX. To his delight, he received a call from Paton tight before the last pick of the third round.

The Denver Broncos selected Browning as the 105th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, his NFL career had a rough start. Browning suffered a leg injury early in the offseason, followed by a concussion keeping him off the field for much of the preseason’s practices.

He did see the field in Week 1, though in minimal play.

Browning finally got his first NFL start in Week 8 after a slew of injuries at the position. He started in nine of the Broncos’ final ten games.

Browning finished the season with 57 tackles and had two passes defensed.

In the 2022 offseason, Browning switched from inside to outside linebacker, a move he had also made in college.

He had a strong preseason proving to be a versatile player. In three preseason games, he recorded a sack for a 12-yard loss, four tackles, one tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, a pass defensed, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The starter, Gregory, exited early in week 4 with a knee injury that ultimately placed him on the IR. Browning was announced as the team’s Week 5 starter.

Though he had shown flashes in his rookie season, there were many questions surrounding how he would perform against the Indianapolis Colts.

Not only did Browning record his first NFL sack, but he also added five tackles, two for loss, and six quarterback hits.

Unfortunately, he suffered a wrist injury while tackling former Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and exited during the fourth quarter with 7:50 remaining.

The good news is that the Broncos do not play again for ten days, giving him plenty of time to heal. With Gregory out for a guaranteed minimum of three more games, the Broncos desperately need Browning to be able to play.

While things are a bit down for Denver currently, Browning’s rise is something positive to keep an eye on as the season goes forward.