Englewood, Colo. (AP) – Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson has cleared the concussion protocol but will be held out of Denver’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, coach Nathaniel Hackett said Friday.
Hackett said Wilson was not happy with the decision, but the Broncos want to take every precaution with the health of their 34-year-old quarterback.
Wilson hurt himself on a head-first dive into several defenders at the goal line after a 14-yard scramble against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend.
He appeared to have fainted for a while and when his helmet was removed the swelling on his forehead was clearly visible. He was replaced by Bret Rypien, who will make his third career start on Sunday.
Wilson made rapid progress through the league’s concussion rules this week, participating in individual throwing drills on Wednesday, taking limited snaps on Thursday and participating fully on Friday.
However, after Friday’s practice, Hackett said Rypien, who received the bulk of the snaps in practice this week, will start Sunday when the Broncos (3-10) host Arizona (4-9).
“Russell Wilson has passed concussion protocol,” Hackett said.
Hackett had said throughout the week that Wilson’s health was the organization’s top concern, so the move was not entirely unexpected.
Wilson has missed only four games in his 11-year NFL career, three of them in Seattle last season when he broke a finger on his throwing hand and one this season due to a pulled hamstring.
“Russ is one of our final competitors in this game. He’s incredible,” Hackett said. “We informed him about the decision. He is not happy about it. He wants to be out there and play. He is very competitive, as we all know, and wants to compete for this team and stick out “
“And we as an organization, after discussing and talking this whole week, have decided that this is what’s best for our organization, it’s what’s best for Russell. And we’ve talked about this from top to bottom.” Talked down,” Hackett said. “So we looked at everything and just want to give him one more week to get ready. We are very confident in ‘Rip’, ‘Rip’ and very excited about this opportunity.
Rypien has made two career starts, both against the New York Jets, whom he defeated in 2020, and lost on October 23 when Wilson was sidelined.
Wilson’s difficult first season in Denver included only 11 touchdown passes – three of which came last week before suffering an injury early in the fourth quarter – and 43 sacks after signing a $245 million contract before the season that included a $50 million signing bonus. A signing bonus was included, bringing his salary this season to $57 million.
The acquisition of Wilson includes the Broncos’ four premium draft picks, including their 2023 first-rounder. With Denver’s unexpected struggles this year, Seattle stands to get the second overall pick in the NFL Draft next April.
Also missing Friday were receivers Cortland Sutton and Kendall Hinton, both of the Broncos’ rookies who have pulled hamstrings.
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