Talked to an old friend turned Bronco foe today.
As the quarterback of the 4-2 Houston Texans, Brock Osweiler held a conference call with the Denver media Thursday for the first time since March 9 when he made a life-changing decision that jolted the Broncos’ community.
Osweiler returns to Denver, where he served as a backup quarterback for 3 ½ of his four seasons, to play against his former Broncos on Monday night at soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“Certainly, I can understand why everybody was extremely surprised and shocked at the time,’’ Osweiler said. “But bottom line, it was an extremely difficult decision. But at the end of the day it was a decision made based upon what I thought was best for my family and myself.’’
I was expecting Osweiler to repeatedly use the “I’ve moved on” line in an attempt to dodge questions about why he spurned the Broncos for Houston. Instead, I was impressed how he answered every inquiry regarding his departure straight on.
There were many reasons. One he admitted to: The Broncos were a tad tardy in showing him some love.
“Bottom line, Denver had the opportunity to extend an offer,’’ Osweiler said. “In fact, they had a great, very long period of time to extend an offer. So at the end of the day, right before free agency opened, there were two offers on the table, there were two things to examine, to explore, to try to do as much research on as possible to see what the best move moving forward would be. Ultimately, obviously, I chose the Texans and that’s because that’s what I felt was best for my family and myself.’’
What he didn’t say as a reason was the Texans’ offer was significantly greater than the one presented by the Broncos. He wound up getting a four-year deal worth $72 million a year with Houston, or an average of $18 million a year. The Broncos’ offer, per sources, was a four-year deal for $62 million, or $15.5 million a year. The Broncos also had makeable incentives in their proposal that would have enriched their potential payout, but apples to apples, another $2.5 million a year with Houston was no doubt a factor in what was best for Osweiler’s family and himself.
Osweiler also said during his introductory press conference March 10 in Houston that he felt the Texans gave him the best chance to succeed. He clarified Thursday that what he meant by that comment is he preferred the Texans’ offensive system, where coach Bill O’Brien is a former Patriot, than the one used by Gary Kubiak’s Broncos.
People may not realize this but when former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterback Peyton Manning were rolling here a few years ago, they were using the offense left over from former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, who has since returned to New England to succeed O’Brien as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator.
“I don’t know if that was probably the correct thing for me to say,’’ Osweiler said. “Bottom line, there were so many things that went into it. I have nothing but great feelings towards coach Kubiak, the rest of the staff and the system that he runs. I feel like I had great success in it last year. I really enjoyed playing in that system. What coach O’Brien is doing down here in Houston and at the time, when I was doing my research on the Texans, it seemed like a phenomenal opportunity as a quarterback to play in a system like this. I was able to see Peyton play in similar systems in 2012, 13 and 14. I don’t think any of us can deny what he was able to accomplish in those systems. As a quarterback, as a competitor and as someone striving to do great things in this league, it just seemed like a great opportunity to play in a system that was similar to that.”
How will Bronco fans greet Brock on Monday night?
“I’m not really sure what kind of reception I’ll receive,’’ Osweiler said. “To be honest with you, coach once told me, when you’re on the field or in a stadium, only focus on your job, keep your focus as laser focus, keep a very small focus. Obviously, you hope for a great reception.’’
Osweiler may not know what kind of reception he’ll get -- but I do. He left because he felt it was better there than here. For the first time, Bronco fans will get a chance to let him know what they think of that decision.