Instead of going home following last season's ACL injury, Courtland Sutton stayed in Denver to conduct his grueling rehabilitation. On Monday -- roughly seven months after undergoing surgery for the tear -- Sutton participated in Broncos OTAs while wearing a protective brace over his left knee.
The former Pro Bowl receiver also wore a smile as he offered a positive update on his recovery. Sutton, who suffered the season-ending injury just two weeks into the 2020 season, is hoping to be back to full strength by the time the Broncos begin training camp.
"That's the plan," Sutton told the team's official website. "[The knee] feels really good. To be at this stage where I'm at right now, post surgery, and to be able to go out and do what I do and it feels the way that it does, it gives me hope and promise for the future. I'm only going to continue to attack rehab as I have … with a 100% mindset."
The 40th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Sutton put up solid numbers as a rookie, catching 42 passes for 704 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 16.8 yards per catch. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound Sutton was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2019 after catching 72 of 124 targets for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. He played an integral role in the success of then-rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who went 4-1 as the Broncos' starter that season.
Sutton's 2020 season ended about as quickly as it started. After missing the Broncos' season opener with a shoulder injury, he caught three passes before suffering a torn left ACL in Denver's Week 2 loss in Pittsburgh. With Sutton on the mend, the Broncos staggered through a 5-11 season that included just two wins in their last nine games.
The Broncos' slide last season has opened up a quarterback battle between Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, who was acquired via a trade with the Panthers. Broncos coach Vic Fangio recently said that the quarterbacks will get equal reps during offseason workouts.
"It's going to be a good little battle," Sutton said. "I think those guys are going to push each other to make sure that the best version of whichever quarterback comes out is ready to come out and win games."
Regardless of who is the Broncos' starting quarterback, Sutton said that the sky is the limit for Denver's receiving corps. Along with Sutton, the Broncos are bringing back fellow wideouts Jerry Jeudy (52 catches, 856 yards, three touchdowns in 2020), Tim Patrick (51 catches, 742 yards, six touchdowns), KJ Hamler (30 catches, 381 yards, three touchdowns) and DaeSean Hamilton (23 catches, 293 yards, two touchdowns). Denver's receiving corps also includes tight end Noah Fant, who caught 102 passes and six touchdowns during his first two seasons with the Broncos.
"We have weapons in every category that you're looking for," Sutton said of the Broncos' receivers. "Speed, size, catching ability, route running. I feel like we're pretty diverse in our room. I was excited watching those dudes have the success that they had this past season. I'm even more excited to be able to be in there with them this upcoming season."