ENGLEWOOD, Colo — With the COVID-19 virus creeping in and around the most position on the team, Broncos general manager George Paton took precaution Saturday by signing quarterback Danny Etling to the practice squad.
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The Broncos have been dealing with the COVID-19 issue for the past 19 days with seven players, including backup quarterback Drew Lock, and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur testing positive.
Starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and No. 3 quarterback Brett Rypien have tested negative for the virus through Saturday. If they are cleared Sunday morning, they will be ready for the Broncos game that afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles at Empower Field at Mile High.
If not, Etling will give the Broncos an emergency quarterback who can at least execute the operation of handoffs and route-tree pass attempts.
Etling, 27, has had a unique career that has required a great amount of perseverance. Raised in Terre Haute, Ind., he turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Colorado to play at Purdue, where his two-year record as a starter was 2-10. He transferred to LSU after his sophomore season and went 16-7 as a starter in 2016-17, combining for 27 touchdown passes against just 7 interceptions.
In 2018, he was a 7th-round draft pick of the New England Patriots. He spent his rookie season on the Pats’ practice squad, then was converted to receiver the following training camp. After he was cut, he was claimed by the Atlanta Falcons and went back to quarterback. He has also spent time with Seattle, Minnesota and British Columbia of the Canadian Football League but has yet to make his regular-season pro debut.
Etling will draw a practice squad salary of $9,200 per week, which means he will earn $82,800 if he sticks with the Broncos’ practice squad through the final 9 weeks (eight games).
Practice squad linebacker Pita Taumoenepu became the 7th Bronco player to test positive for the virus Saturday. ...
Essang Bassey, the Broncos' top slot defensive back last year until he suffered a torn ACL in a December 6 game at Kansas City, was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list Saturday and will be eligible to play Sunday against the Eagles. ...
The Broncos elevated four players from their practice squad Saturday: Offensive tackles Quinn Bailey and Drew Himmelman, running back Damarea Crockett and inside linebacker Curtis Robinson. Bailey will be the swing backup tackle to Calvin Anderson and Cam Fleming, who are filling in for injured starters Garett Bolles and Bobby Massie. Robinson is taking the spot of backup inside linebacker Justin Strnad, who is out with COVID-19. Crockett is replacing Mike Boone as the No. 3 running back. Boone strained a groin muscle in practice Thursday.
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