ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The price of season-opening victory continues to soar for the Denver Broncos.
It was learned Tuesday that starting cornerback Ronald Darby – who played all 61 defensive snaps in the Broncos’ 27-13 road win Sunday against the New York Giants – suffered a hamstring injury during the final series of the game and was placed on short-term injured reserve.
Darby became one of three Broncos starters who suffered a significant setback in the game – and the second surprise. TV viewers saw receiver Jerry Jeudy get carted off with a high ankle sprain that so far is not as severe as it initially appeared. Jeudy will miss the next four to six games – but initial fears were much worse.
Broncos right guard Graham Glasgow was taken to a local hospital after the game with an irregular heartbeat. Glasgow played all but the final, three-and-out series. He is returning Tuesday afternoon to Denver by Broncos-arranged private plane. That Glasgow was allowed to fly less than 48 hours after he was hospitalized is a positive sign. However, his playing status for the Broncos’ next game Sunday at Jacksonville figures to be highly questionable. He was replaced by Netane Muti for the final three plays against the Giants.
Jeudy joined Darby on the Broncos’ IR list that topped a flurry of Broncos’ roster moves Tuesday. Both players will be out a minimum three weeks, but both may need another week or three before they're game-ready.
To replace Jeudy and Darby on the 53-man roster, the Broncos promoted receiver Kendall Hinton and cornerback Nate Hairston from their practice squad. To fill those vacated practice squad spots, the Broncos signed former Wyoming cornerback/Raiders receiver Rico Gafford and cornerback Rojesterman Farris to their 16-man backup roster.
As for starting replacements, the Broncos figure to use either first-round pick Pat Surtain II or veteran Bryce Callahan for Darby at one outside corner position -- with the non-starter filling in at the nickel position.
Tim Patrick will replace Jeudy as the Broncos' starting receiver opposite Courtland Sutton. Last year, Patrick replaced the injured Sutton as a starting receiver opposite Jeudy.
Hinton is best known for filling in as an emergency quarterback for the Broncos last year in a 31-3 loss to New Orleans after all four QBs on the Broncos’ roster were controversially placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. At the time, Hinton was a practice squad receiver, but he was chosen to fill in because he played QB as a freshman and sophomore at Wake Forest. He was promoted to the big roster Tuesday as a receiver -- ahead of the practice squad draft pick likes of Tyrie Cleveland and Seth Williams.
Hairston was elevated from the practice squad to the game-day roster against the Giants’ game and was in on 9 special teams plays. Now he has a more permanent roster spot, permanent as one can be in the NFL.
Gafford was a two-year starting cornerback for Wyoming in 2017-18, then was converted to receiver by the Raiders as a rookie in 2018. He had two catches for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders in 2019.
Farris was signed by the Broncos in the second week of training camp and intercepted Teddy Bridgewater to finish off his first practice. He picked off Drew Lock two days later but was cut late in camp. Farris was quickly picked up by Green Bay but cut a short time later.
The Broncos also protected four practice squad players for the week: Center-guard Austin Schlottmann, quarterback Brett Rypien, cornerback Savion Smith and running back Damarea Crockett.
Schlottmann’s protected status is an indication the Broncos may not have Glasgow for the upcoming game against the Jaguars. Crockett joined Hairston as the two practice squad players elevated to the game roster against the Giants.
Crockett played special teams and was the No. 3 running back behind Melvin Gordon III and Javonte Williams – a role he may fill again this week at Jacksonville.
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