ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – His teammates' reactions said as much Thursday night, as did Billy Winn’s own expression when he was helped on to a cart in the first quarter of the Denver Broncos’ preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
An MRI exam conducted Friday has confirmed Winn suffered a torn right ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Winn suffered the injury with just 46 seconds left in the first quarter when he stepped awkwardly in a crowd during a 6-yard run by Bears running back Ka’Deem Carey.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph said following the game that Winn would have the MRI Friday to check the extent of the injury. But Winn’s teammates wore somber expressions when he was helped to a cart by the Broncos trainers and Winn, who had expressed high hopes for the season this past week, looked resigned to the injury's severity.
Players were also waving for the training staff almost as soon as the play was over. Winn, who re-signed with the Broncos late in free agency, played 342 snaps on defense last season (29.9 percent).
He played in all 16 games in 2016, starting two. Winn, because the Broncos selected DeMarcus Walker in the second round of this past April's draft after they had signed both Domata Peko and Zach Kerr in free agency, was facing a tight battle for available roster spots in the defensive line.
This past week Broncos special teams coordinator Brock Olivo said Winn had volunteered during the offseason to be a backup long snapper on punts and field goal attempts if needed. Olivo also expressed his belief Winn could find some kind of role on special teams.
“I know he’s done that in the past,’’ Olivo said. “When we first got here, Billy came up and said, ‘Hey, I’m your guy if you need a backup.’ Billy is an amazing athlete. I don’t know if you guys have seen. He can play in space too so we’re excited about Billy.’’