The pads were on for the Denver Broncos’ fifth training camp practice at the Centura Health Training Center Monday morning, and bad luck struck almost immediately as wide receiver Tim Patrick suffered what’s likely to be a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, and fellow pass-catcher K.J. Hamler was waived after being diagnosed with pericarditis. What will the Broncos do now? Here are my takeaways from Monday morning’s eventful practice.

Denver Broncos lose Tim Patrick for the season

Around this time last year, Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick went down with a non-contact ACL injury in his right knee. The energy and wind were sucked out of Dove Valley when the injury happened.

Just barely a year afterward, Patrick went down during the team’s first padded practice, and that sick feeling crept back in. Teammates, fans in attendance, and media members stood silently after Patrick went down during the team’s second snap of their 7-on-7 period.

At first, it looked like Patrick had slipped and fell awkwardly, but as he rolled over to sit down, you could tell how concerned he was. Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton, and head coach Sean Payton approached Patrick as trainers attended to him, looking at his lower left leg.

After several minutes, he was helped up, but couldn’t put any weight or pressure on his leg, prompting the cart to come out. Patrick was barely removed from overcoming an ACL injury that sidelined him for the entire season. He will now miss the 2023 season with a confirmed ruptured Achilles, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The injury is a massive blow to the Denver Broncos, not only because of Patrick’s impact as a football player on the field, but off it as well, because Patrick’s role as a leader inside the locker room is crucial. Denver’s veteran wide receiver has been an instrumental part of the team culture behind the scenes and has helped mentor teammates going through ACL recovery or other injuries.

The unfortunate side of injuries in the NFL is that the game keeps going, and the Broncos will rely more on last year’s undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Brandon Johnson, off-season acquisition Marquez Callaway, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey to step up in Patrick’s absence.

While there is no replacing what Patrick has done for the Broncos on the field, they can find a way to supplement that production with various players.

KJ Hamler waived as a procedural move, dealing with heart condition that requires treatment

The hits kept coming for the Denver Broncos on Monday, not only dealing with Tim Patrick’s injury but losing another wide receiver to something beyond their control.

Fourth-year wide receiver KJ Hamler announced on his Instagram on Monday that he would be stepping away from football for a moment as he deals with a mild heart condition called pericarditis.

“After feeling some chest pains while working out on the break before camp started, I got everything checked out and was diagnosed with mild heart irritation, called pericarditis. I’ve got a great treatment plan with medicine and am taking a quick break to get this all taken care of so I can get back to doing what I love.

I will be back on the field—better and stronger than ever—as soon as possible this season! I feel great physically and this is very frustrating for me to deal with. I know most of you have heard or know of my story and these past few years what I’ve been going through on and off the field.

It’s tough to deal with this when I was ready for a breakout year, but adversity is nothing new to me. I have been through hell and back, but it’s hard to reach paradise if you don’t go through hell first.

I’ll get past this just like everything else on this journey! I will continue to elevate. I forever stand on business.

This is not a farewell, this is not a goodbye, this is a see you soon as I take a break for my health.

I’m so grateful for my teammates & coaches. Appreciate the support from the Broncos Country and encouragement I have been receiving. This is something to bring awareness to anybody. So anyone with chest pains please get checked out by your doctor!

Stay true, Be you, stand on Ten, Never bend.

While many fans have piled on Hamler for some of the injuries he has dealt with, things like this are a great reminder of why everybody — fans and media – needs to begin viewing these players as human beings first. This industry has an awful problem with how players are viewed and treated.

What so many don’t realize is all of the work behind the scenes Hamler and other players put in to try their hardest to be ready to produce and help the team in any way they can.

We hope to see Hamler back on the field very soon, whether it’s in Denver, or somewhere else.

First day of pads leads to several players standing out

Despite the bad news that impacted the Denver Broncos on Monday, there were plenty of observations to take away from practice as the pads came on.

  • Third-round rookie cornerback Riley Moss and outside linebacker Frank Clark were not seen at practice on Monday. Broncos head coach Sean Payton said there was “nothing to report,” and that it was a club decision – and that he would keep us posted.
  • Javonte Williams had a nice catch out of the backfield during the team’s first rep of 7-on-7 — showcasing his ability to haul in the football, evading a pursuing Alex Singleton and showing bounce in his step.
  • Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham connected with wide receiver Brandon Johnson downfield for a touchdown during 7-on-7 — Stidham’s ball placement has been consistently solid throughout training camp to date.
  • Second-year cornerback Damarri Mathis had an early pass breakup while in coverage against Jerry Jeudy — Jeudy, later on in practice, gained separation on a play and evaded Mathis for a big gain.
  • Samaje Perine had a rep during the Broncos’ team period where he quickly burst through a still-opening hole and ran for a big gain.
  • Jonathon Cooper stepped in at outside linebacker with Frank Clark missing today’s practice and came up with what would have been a sack on Russell Wilson in a real simulated game.
  • Regarding the Broncos RB3 competition — Jaleel McLaughlin had two explosive plays as a runner for the Broncos, finding a way to get skinny as a hole began to collapse and bursting up the right sideline, where nobody could catch him. Badie also had an explosive run on the day.
  • Cornerback Essang Bassey had a great rep of coverage during Denver’s team period; blowing up a passing play for a loss behind the line of scrimmage.

Tuesday’s practice at the Centura Health Training Center will see the Denver Broncos gear up in pads for the second consecutive day as they begin to ramp things up in preparation for next week’s first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.