SATURDAY: The Broncos are activating Darby from IR. Though Surtain is questionable for Week 5, Denver might have its top four cornerbacks available against Pittsburgh. But the team will be without another of its pass catchers going forward. The Broncos placed tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on IR Saturday. The second-year tight end, who missed most of last season with an ACL tear, is dealing with a hamstring ailment.
WEDNESDAY: Amid a rough stretch on the health front, the Broncos received some positive injury news Wednesday. Ronald Darby returned to practice, starting his 21-day window for a re-emergence from injured reserve.
The Broncos placed Darby on IR following a Week 1 hamstring injury, depleting the team’s cornerback surplus. But the former Philadelphia and Washington corner may be on track to return at first chance this week in Pittsburgh. Teams have three weeks to activate players designated to return or they revert to season-ending IR.
Although the Broncos signed Kyle Fuller, they inked Darby to a three-year deal. Darby and Patrick Surtain II represent the team’s long-term cornerback investments. Surtain, however, has taken Darby’s place in the starting lineup and played fairly well. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos proceed with their $10MM-per-year corner and their No. 9 overall pick. Surtain did suffer a chest injury late in the Broncos’ Week 4 loss; Denver deemed its prized rookie day to day.
The Broncos have lost two more starting defenders — Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell — since Darby’s injury and finished Sunday’s loss without five offensive first-stringers, including a concussed Teddy Bridgewater.