ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After a tumultuous 18-month football odyssey through Houston and Cleveland, Brock Osweiler is back in Denver, where his career started. He said Monday he has no regrets about his decision to leave last year, but he is "ecstatic" to return to the Broncos.
"It's hard to describe in words, but being back here [Monday], practicing as a Bronco, being here at Dove Valley, probably top five, if not three, day of my life," Osweiler said after practice. "Today has been incredible."
Osweiler signed a one-year contract Monday morning, passed his physical and took part in the team's meetings and practice.
His departure last year in free agency, to sign a four-year, $72 million deal with the Houston Texans just weeks after the Broncos had won Super Bowl 50, was a bumpy one. The Broncos offered the structure Osweiler was familiar with, along with a pretty hefty contract, but the Texans offered more money.
Osweiler's comments during his first news conference in Houston -- which included his belief that the Texans gave him the best "chance to compete" -- ruffled some feathers at the time, as did his decision to skip the Broncos' trip to the White House. Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway fired back when he said the franchise wanted players "who want to be Denver Broncos."
But time appears to have healed those wounds. On Saturday, Elway said the Broncos would welcome Osweiler back "with open arms." Osweiler was equally eager to return.
"I have no regrets on my decision," Osweiler said. "... I would say I'm ecstatic to be back here. It's kind of like that old deal when you're a little kid and your mom, you know, she tells you, 'Don't touch the hot stove.' So, what do you have to do as a curious kid? You've got to go touch the hot stove and you learn real quick how nice that stove is when it's not hot. ... My wife and I, we miss Colorado every single day."
When Paxton Lynch suffered a right shoulder injury in Denver's preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Broncos were on the hunt for a veteran quarterback who could be Trevor Siemian's backup during Lynch's recovery. When the Cleveland Browns released Osweiler on Friday, everyone was ready to let bygones be bygones.
Osweiler signed a one-year deal with the Broncos for the veteran minimum for a player with his experience level: $775,000. The Browns will pay him $15.225 million.
"It's kind of like that old deal when you're a little kid and your mom, you know, she tells you, 'Don't touch the hot stove.' So, what do you have to do as a curious kid? You've got to go touch the hot stove and you learn real quick how nice that stove is when it's not hot."
Brock Osweiler, on his decision to sign with the Texans
The Broncos had hoped to find a backup with knowledge of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's playbook. Osweiler played for McCoy in 2012, when McCoy was in the last year of his previous stint with the team.
"He looked fine. He looked tall," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said with a laugh about the 6-foot-7 Osweiler. "... But he's been with Mike before, so the terminology wasn't that different for him."
Elway said the Broncos would give Osweiler a chance to go through "football rehab," after a difficult year with the Texans last season that led to Osweiler's trade to Cleveland. Osweiler did not play in the Browns' last two preseason games as rookie DeShone Kizer won the Browns' starting quarterback job.
"I have nothing but love and appreciation for this organization, for John Elway, for Joe Ellis, for the Bowlen family, just for this community," said Osweiler, who went 5-2 in the games he started in 2015 in place of Peyton Manning, who had an injured foot. "Our old neighbors have reached out. ... I want people to know that my decision [to leave] didn't come lightly ... I was a mess.
"At the end of the day I tried making the best business decision for myself and my family. Whether I made the best one or not, that could be argued, but the fact of the matter is it was made. I'm not going to live in the past, but I've always had nothing but love and appreciation for the Denver Broncos and the city of Denver."