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Woody Paige: Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos have reluctant reunion

September 3, 2017 Updated: September 5, 2017 at 11:35 am
Caption +
Denver backup quarterback Brock Osweiler congradulates right tackle Michael Scholfield after the Broncos scored to take a 24-10 lead over Carolina during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

"We've stayed true to our philosophy of building a team with players who want to be Denver Broncos and want to be here." - John Elway on the departure of Brock Osweiler

"He's going to need a little football rehab. ... We will welcome him with open arms and give him some love.'' - Elway on Osweiler's return

Brock is back; T.J. is not; Kyle is in limbo, and Paxton is not feeling so good himself.

Where have you gone, Timmy, Jake The Snake and Jay?

Say, some strange Saturday at Dove Valley.

What else is new?

Hold onto your seats; it's going to be a bumpy ride. I've sort of gotten used to such stuff over 44 Broncos seasons. You just never know.

The Broncos of Elway, Peyton Manning and eight Super Bowls now possess three quarterbacks who ranked toward the bottom of the NFL barrel in 2016 (although two were on the roster when the franchise last won a championship).

There have been some epic breakups in history: Martin and Lewis, Elvis and Priscilla, Lucrezia Borgia and Giovanni Sforza, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, Simon and Garfunkel, John and Paul - and Jay Cutler and the Broncos, Jake Plummer and the Broncos, Tim Tebow and the Broncos, Tiger and Elin, LeBron James and the Cavaliers, the Rams and Los Angeles, and perhaps the most notorious - Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (who lost her head over the split).

Then, there have been classic reunions - Taylor and Burton (who broke up), the Cavaliers and LeBron, the Rams and Los Angeles.

The Elway-Osweiler relationship may not be equal to that extreme, but when Brock scorned The Duke of Denver and the Broncos almost 18 months ago and signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans, it seemed that the close connection was done, deleted, dead as a door nail.

Osweiler had been Elway's prized pick in the second round of the 2012 draft, the roommate and best friend of John's son Jack at Arizona State, the Air Apparent to Manning, the guy who took over for a lame, elderly Peyton in 2015 and beat the Patriots and three others, and the young man who was offered $16 million a year, with $30 mil guaranteed. But Ossie-Ossie-Ossie left in a very messy goodbye.

But The Prodigal Quarterback, assuming he passes a formality physical, is on the roster again - at a price $15 million less than what he wouldn't accept before.

There seemed to be a better chance that Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels would take over the Broncos again, or that Tim Tebow would give up baseball and rejoin the Broncos, or that Jay Cutler would come out of the broadcast booth and become the Broncos' quarterback. (Oh, he did with the Dolphins.)

Elway, who has hard bark, had issues with others beside Osweiler - Frank Kush, Robert Irsay, Dan Reeves, Mike Shanahan, Cutler, John Fox, Jack Del Rio, Wade Phillips, Tebow, even Manning (when the GM asked the QB to take a $4 million cut). But he sincerely was with chagrined over Osweiler's disloyalty. And Osweiler wasn't enamored with the Broncos and their fanatical following - after he was benched and replaced with Manning for the final game, the playoffs and the Super Bowl, by the lack of a proposal he felt not befitting of his future and by the reaction when he had to confront the Broncos last season in a regular-season game at Mile High Stadium.

Both Elway and Osweiler had to take a very deep breath over the past 30 hours.

Osweiler needed a job, at any cost. The Browns didn't want him as a starter or a reserve, and no other teams were thrilled to take on a guy who was a failure with the Texans, and had to be given away to Cleveland.

Elway needed a quarterback, at a cheap cost. His newest high draft choice, Lynch, had been beaten badly for the starting quarterback position, then suffered a shoulder injury - early in the second half of the third exhibition - that will keep him out probably until the bye week (after the fourth game) or beyond. Despite the slobbering in the community over undrafted free agent Kyle Sloter, the coaching staff and the front office were not impressed when he had to play against the Broncos' defense in practices.

"We need a veteran (backup) quarterback,'' coach Vance Joseph said Saturday night. He was not being jovial.

Meanwhile, safety T.J. Ward is released, and that important announcement was pushed to sidebar status.

Because of The Reluctant Reunion.

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