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Joe Flacco's season officially ends as Broncos place quarterback on IR

LB Corey Nelson also goes on IR. Broncos promote QB Brett Rypien, former CSU standout LB Josh Watson from practice squad.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is sacked by Indianapolis Colts' Ben Banogu (52) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

The Broncos officially placed quarterback Joe Flacco and inside linebacker Corey Nelson on injured reserve Friday and called up quarterback Brett Rypien and inside linebacker Josh Watson from their practice squad.

9News first reported on Monday that Flacco would go on IR and Rypien would be promoted.

Flacco spent 11 seasons as the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens before he was traded to the Broncos this offseason in return for a fourth-round draft pick. The Broncos only went 2-6 in Flacco’s eight games, although he was the least of their problems.

Flacco threw for 1,822 yards to become the 22nd quarterback in NFL history to surpass 40,000 career passing yards. He threw 6 touchdown passes against 5 interceptions.

With his neck stiff and sore, Flacco said after the Broncos’ heartbreaking 15-13 loss at Indianapolis on Sunday that the team needed to be more aggressive on offense and take more shots downfield.

Flacco knew something wasn’t feeling normal with his neck but didn’t know anything was seriously wrong until an MRI examination Monday revealed a herniated disc. It’s a six-week injury, and if the Broncos were 6-2 instead of 2-6, he would stay on the active roster and return for the final three games.

But that’s not how it’s worked out and now the Broncos want to eventually play second-round rookie Drew Lock near season’s end. The decision was thus made to place Flacco on IR, which ends his season.

Rypien was the Broncos’ relatively well-paid undrafted rookie practice squad quarterback ($146,000 guaranteed) from Boise State. He will now make the prorated salary of $495,000 as back up to starting QB Brandon Allen on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Allen is also expected to start at minimum the first two games after next week’s bye, at Minnesota and at Buffalo.

Nelson suffered torn biceps in the Indy game. Watson competed with Alexander Johnson in training camp for the inside linebacker position that was temporarily opened by Todd Davis’ calf injury.

Watson, who played his college ball at Colorado State, made the Broncos’ first 53-man roster on August 31 but was cut the next day. He spent the first eight weeks on the Broncos’ practice squad.

“This has been a blessing, that’s the first thing I’m thinking about,'' Watson said. "First opportunity. It’s been a dream come true. I always wanted to play on Sundays for my teammates and going out there and competing.”

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