Mike Klis from the Denver Post documented the Derek Wolfe story as has not been done before, and his column on the scary situation suffered by the Broncos’ top pick in 2012 is a must-read this morning.
In the article, Klis has some eye witness accounts of people around Wolfe as well as the personal account of Wolfe himself.
According to the reports, Wolfe battled various injuries and ailments last year before winding up playing at 265 pounds, 20 pounds lighter than his normal playing weight of 285, which he is back up to as of this moment in time.
Wolfe said the neck injury played a part in it, but that other factors played in as well.
“Really, it was my fault,” Wolfe said. “I should have been more aware of what was going on. I had symptoms that I was not reporting, symptoms I was ignoring to myself because I was afraid of wondering if the issue was my neck. Really, it wasn’t my neck. The neck injury had something to do with me losing all that weight. And losing all that weight had something to do with my nervous system being screwed up.
“But the issue was, I didn’t rest after that neck injury. I didn’t let them let me rest. I felt fine. I was 100 percent. Greek was like, ‘Hey, you should rest.’ But if you feel fine, go. There were no signs that anything was wrong.”
Wolfe grinded through until Game 7 at Indianapolis, when a collision with a fullback shot pain through the neck area again. That’s when Wolfe started having headaches, and the pain prevented him from sleeping. Yet he had those sacks in Games 8, 9 and 10.
There was one more game, at New England, but no more after that.
Wolfe credits the Broncos’ training staff and some yoga for his recovery to get back to the place he is now after dipping to 258 pounds at one point last season.
“Yoga really helped connect my mind and body back together,” Wolfe said. “Because really the issue was my nervous system had become so disconnected from my body that I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t look like myself. I didn’t sound like myself. Nothing that was going on was me. I wasn’t playing like myself. Even during the season, I wasn’t playing like I normally play. The physicality I like to play with, I didn’t have it because I didn’t have the weight. I had the strength, but the weight wasn’t behind it.”
Kudos to Mr. Klis for a fantastic article, which you should read in full, and very exciting to hear Derek Wolfe is back from all this. He is one of the hardest working players on the Broncos and one of the most fun to watch play. He should be a very nice addition to a defense that could have really used his fire last year.