ENGLEWOOD—Ron Leary can attest he wasn’t rushed back from a concussion to play against his former Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.
It was a guarded return.
“It was a little frustrating because I knew my head was fine but with concussions being such a hot topic in the league right now, the team took it on the precautionary side so I couldn’t be mad at them about that,’’ Leary, the Broncos’ right guard, said in a sit down interview with 9News this week. “I appreciate them taking it slow because it’s a real serious thing. I was able to clear the protocol and I was glad because I definitely wanted to play in that game.’’
It was halftime of the Broncos’ season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers that the Denver medical team spotted concussion-like symptoms in Leary and didn’t let him play the second half. He thought he could have stayed in.
“I think I could have but when it comes to that they’re not going to listen to the player,’’ Leary said. “That’s up to the doctor.’’
He was cleared five days later and helped the Broncos trounce the Cowboys, 42-17. Looking back, Leary was glad for the concern.
“It’s a serious topic,’’ he said. “CTE is something you can’t joke around with. When you see some of the former players unfortunately getting diagnosed with it, so they take it real serious but I think all the players appreciate that.’’
Leary not only played against the Cowboys, he was part of an offensive line that dominated the defensive front he once practiced against. Leary led a group of blockers that helped amass 178 yards rushing and four touchdowns thrown by quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Through the first two weeks of the regular season, the Broncos were No. 1 in the league in rushing and No. 3 in scoring. Last season, the Broncos were No. 27 in rushing and No. 22 in scoring.
“It’s early so I don’t want to start, ‘We’re the best at this, we’re the best at that,’ it’s so early,’’ Leary said. “But I think it starts at the top, our offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) putting us in great position. And then coach (Jeff) Davidson teaching us every day, harping on the little things.
“And then to the men in that room. We work so hard. There’s a lot of new faces so it took a little time to adjust. Sometimes in OTAs and in camp it didn’t look pretty but we kept working and the work is paying off. But we’re not satisfied at all.’’