If anybody knows what it’s like to overcome an ACL injury and return to the gridiron a year afterward it’s Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton. As fan-favorite Tim Patrick continues to make progress in his recovery from last year’s devastating injury during training camp, he has plenty of support around him.

Last year during training camp in late July, there was a lot of excitement about what the Denver Broncos offense could be like after the addition of Russell Wilson. Even further, what might an offense look like that features Wilson throwing to Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler?

Unfortunately, Broncos fans never got to see the group together in their entirety last season, but an injury during training camp would suck the wind out of the sails in Dove Valley. After making an incredible play rising up over former Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby, Patrick snagged an incredible pass and would come down with it, but as soon as he landed and tried to make a move — his knee buckled and he went down.

Complete silence overtook the practice field at that very moment as teammates gathered around Patrick who was carted off of the field. Patrick underwent knee surgery but attacked his rehabilitation aggressively at the team facility. At various points last year, Patrick was seen in the locker room on crutches.

On game days both at home and on the road, Patrick still traveled with the team from time to time and stepped into a leadership role behind the scenes — providing mentorship to players like Brandon Johnson, Kendall Hinton, Jalen Virgil, KJ Hamler and even proven guys like Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

Everything Patrick has gone through has brought him to this point this upcoming season where he’s expected to be fully ready to go for the regular season. Several years ago, Sutton went through the same exact experience.

After Thursday’s final OTA practice, Sutton met with the media and shared what it’s like to have Patrick back into the mix after his ACL journey.

“It’s so good to see him back out there,” Sutton said. “Myself, being able to know where he’s coming from in that situation — knowing the ins and outs of the rehab process, him being here the entire time while everybody was gone, working his butt off to do that and continuing to progress and get to the spot where he wants to get to physically. Tim [Patrick] is always going to be a dawg, he’s always going to be a guy who can go out there and make plays and be a spark and be a leader. It’s been great having him back in the meeting room, back on the field. You can hear him back there talking to the young guys as well. It’s just nice to have another veteran presence in that room.”

In 2021, Sutton and Patrick’s strong on-field play helped land both of them well-deserved contract extensions. Sutton caught 58 passes for 776 yards and two touchdowns while Patrick reeled in 53 catches for 734 yards and five touchdowns. They were bright spots in a Pat Shurmur offense that struggled with inconsistencies at QB play, injuries on the offensive line, and more.

Now both players will be primed to step onto the field together once again for the first time since 2021 under new head coach Sean Payton who is working to turn the Broncos offensive struggles around — in hopes of the team finding more success and winning games.

During the offseason, Sutton was the subject of various trade rumors, garnering interest from other teams around the NFL. Teams called, but the Broncos weren’t interested in trading he or Jerry Jeudy away. Now that those rumors and important deadlines are behind him, he’s ready for this upcoming season as the team prepares for mandatory minicamp next week.

“I love that I am here,” Sutton said on Thursday. “This is where you guys know I want to be at. It’s home. I want to continue to build where we’re aspiring to get to. Coach (Sean) Payton coming in, bringing the coaches that he brought in, bringing the guys that he’s brought in, and everybody’s bought in and is ready to take this thing to the next level.”

He’ll have a new wide receivers coach this year with Keary Colbert coming over and replacing former position coach Zach Azzanni who is now with the New York Jets. On top of that, Sutton looks like he’s in peak shape and has consistently made some big plays during OTAs. On top of that, Sutton looks like he’s gotten bigger in his upper body, including his arms and shoulders.

Having Patrick back alongside him in a fully healthy capacity combined with Jerry Jeudy should hopefully lead to more explosive plays from the Denver Broncos offense this upcoming season.

The Denver Broncos will hold mandatory minicamp next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Centura Training Center.