Broncos coach Sean Payton on WR Courtland Sutton’s absence extending into OTAs: “That will sort itself out”

Broncos coach Sean Payton on WR Courtland Sutton’s absence extending into OTAs: “That will sort itself out”

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Courtland Sutton’s offseason away from the Broncos continues.

The veteran wide receiver was not in Denver for the first week of organized team activities. He also skipped the opening phases of the Broncos’ offseason workouts, which began in mid-April.

Head coach Sean Payton on Thursday again downplayed Sutton’s absence.

“Listen, there isn’t any concern and here’s why: I know Courtland well,” Payton said. “He’s a tremendous worker. You guys know him. Tremendous makeup, a leader of our team.

“That will sort itself out.”

Sutton has $2 million guaranteed on the final two years of the contract extension he signed in 2021. He hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2019, but he’s been a consistent presence in the lineup and the stat sheet since returning from a 2020 torn ACL.

Sutton had a career-best 10 touchdowns in 2023 to go along with 59 catches and 772 yards.

This portion of the offseason is entirely voluntary, though most of the Broncos’ roster has been on hand this week. Not only that but Sutton’s always participated in most or all of the team’s offseason activities since he was drafted in the second round in 2018.

The first mandatory days of the offseason are a three-day minicamp that runs June 11-13.

Among the other starters not in attendance Thursday: Defensive linemen D.J. Jones, who has been present at some of the offseason workouts, and John Franklin-Myers, who has not yet reported after being traded from the Jets during the draft. Franklin-Myers, though, is expected to arrive in town in the coming weeks.

Dulcich “close” to returning. Tight end Greg Dulcich hasn’t been able to catch a break on the injury front.

On Thursday, he was limited to work on the side field as he continues to try to put recurring hamstring injuries in the rearview mirror.

Dulcich showed promise as a rookie in 2022 but missed part of training camp and then seven games total due to multiple right hamstring injuries.

It got worse in 2023 when he appeared in parts of two games but didn’t make it through either healthy.

“He’s close,” Payton said. “Man, he’s had all the work done. We’re encouraged. I think you’ll see him sooner than later and we want to be smart.”

Payton said Dulcich has continued to see specialists about how to keep the hamstring healthy this offseason.

“His rehab has gone well and it’s not going to be that we don’t see him until training camp,” Payton said.

Sanders update. Payton confirmed that second-year linebacker Drew Sanders tore his Achilles tendon about a month ago during a team workout. Sanders had surgery and Payton said he’s optimistic that the 2023 third-round draft pick will play this fall. Maybe even quite a bit.

“Fortunately, it was an early enough timeline that we’ll bring him back,” Payton said. “I don’t want to say October (for sure), but the good news is the surgery was done, it was clean. There wasn’t anything complex about the injury.”

Schedule thoughts. Payton said the Broncos will likely stay on the East Coast between road games at Tampa and the New York Jets in Weeks 3-4 in late September.

“We asked for that,” Payton said. “We have the four Eastern time zone games so after Tampa, we’re sorting through where we might go before we then play the Jets.”

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