NFL

The Broncos’ Duke Dawson Just Got Dealt a Major Blow to His Season

The Denver Broncos‘ offense, defense, and special teams have all seen better days, but one bright spot in this dismal season is cornerback Duke Dawson. Sadly, that bright spot just dimmed as Dawson was carted off the field against the Carolina Panthers. Reports say he’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Now, Dawson’s focus will be on recovery and getting back in shape to help the Broncos put together some wins next season.

Duke Dawson’s injury

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The Denver Broncos secondary was already shorthanded when Dawson got his first start of the season recently. But his good fortune didn’t last long. In the middle of the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers, he scrambled to make a tackle upfield and suffered a non-contact knee injury. After being treated on the field, CBS Sports reports that Dawson tore his ACL, LCL, and sprained his MCL. 

With a tear to the ACL already requiring surgery, the additional knee injuries make for a substantial recovery period. Those closest to the Broncos organization worry Dawson may not even be ready for the start of the 2021 season.

Dawson’s NFL career so far

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Dawson played college ball at Florida where he stayed all four years. In his senior season, he defended 13 passes, leading the Gators in that category and tying for third in all the SEC. In the 2018 NFL draft, he was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round. His first few months with the team were a big letdown after he suffered a hamstring injury that took him out of play.

Dawson was reactivated a few months later but didn’t see any time on the field that season. The Patriots would later go on to win Super Bowl LIII, defeating the LA Rams. In August 2019, Dawson was traded to the Denver Broncos. He was active in 14 games that season with three starts. The cornerback worked to become an integral part of the team and ended the season with 19 tackles.

Dawson saw more time on the field in 2020 due to multiple player injuries and got his first start of the season when in the game he was hurt. He has a contract with the Broncos through the end of the 2021 season, so he should be able to suit up once he’s fully rehabbed.   

What do the Broncos do now?

Duke Dawson Jr. of the Denver Broncos is carted off the field
Duke Dawson Jr. of the Denver Broncos is carted off the field | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL season has seen its fair share of challenges. COVID-19 left fans watching from home instead of in the stands. And teams scrambled when players contracted it. But even with all of these issues, football played on. The Denver Broncos have had an especially tough time navigating the virus this year.

In week 12, their backup quarterback tested positive for COVID-19, and it was revealed, the other quarterbacks were considered close contacts as well. In the end, a practice squad wide receiver suited up and played quarterback ending with a Broncos loss.

With Dawson out for the season, they’ll have to piece together players from an already injury-riddled squad. This means the backline could consist of a rookie, an undrafted free agent, and various practice squads.

While definitely not ideal, it may be all the Broncos can muster to get through the season. One thing is certain, if the Broncos make it through this dismal season, they’ll have the drive for next year. As for Dawson, his injuries are extensive and will require major rehabilitation, but look for him to make a comeback in the 2021 season.