ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos’ hard-luck season added another item to the pile Friday.
A team that started 0-4, lost one of its best players — linebacker Bradley Chubb — for the season with a torn ACL in Week 4 and saw its free-agency class largely gutted by injuries, will put cornerback Bryce Callahan on injured reserve, formally ending a season that never really got started for him.
Callahan was one of the Broncos’ primary targets in free agency this past March and signed a three-year, $21 million deal. However, he had surgery last December to place a screw in his foot to aid in the healing of a fracture he suffered while with the Chicago Bears, and that screw got bent as the Broncos went through the early part of training camp.
Callahan had not practiced between a stadium practice in July and some light work in one practice earlier this week. He did not play a snap in any game.
The Broncos finally chose to move Callahan to injured reserve when they decided to move wide receiver Tim Patrick from IR to the active roster. Patrick, who suffered a hand fracture in the season-opening loss in Oakland, will be on the roster for Sunday’s game in Minnesota.
Callahan’s injury has been another issue in a star-crossed year at times.
“Part of his operation, which is routine, they put a screw in there to promote healing and the screw got bent,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said after Friday’s practice. “It caused him a lot of discomfort and pain. … His level was too high for him to play through that. I don’t know what having a screw bent in your foot feels like, but he has one.”
Fangio said Callahan will have surgery “soon” to replace the screw and should be able to participate in the Broncos’ offseason program in some capacity next spring.
“This time we need to make sure the screw doesn’t bend. We need to go to a better hardware store,” Fangio said. “[It’s] hard to say ‘routine’ when you’re talking about somebody else’s operation, but it happens a lot when somebody gets that injury. He should recover from it.”
Chubb’s injury cost the Broncos one of their best defenders, somebody who was poised to have a big year. Callahan, tackle Ja’Wuan James and running back Theo Riddick were high-profile free agents who have not really been a part of things.
James (four years, $51 million) has played just 32 snaps in two games combined because of a knee injury. Riddick (one year, $2.5 million) has been on injured reserve since he suffered a shoulder fracture in the preseason.
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The Broncos, who play four of their next five games on the road, including Sunday against the Vikings, are 3-2 since their 0-4 start.