Denver Broncos starting left guard Dalton Risner is the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, he’s been a starter since the day he was drafted, and he might be playing elsewhere in 2023. Risner, a native of Wiggins, CO, who once famously sprinted up to his childhood hero John Elway at the 2019 Senior Bowl, seemingly said his goodbyes at a press conference on Thursday in Denver.
Risner took the podium with a brace on his injured left elbow after receiving the “Darrent Williams Good Guy Award” from the Denver media. And it sure sounded like he was saying his thank yous and goodbyes.
Dalton Risner saying goodbye to the Denver Broncos?
Risner is truly one of the good guys on the Denver Broncos. When you look back on this man’s career, you aren’t going to be able to find many times when he wasn’t available to people who reached out to him to be on their podcast — I know personally of at least three that he graciously participated in on his own time.
You aren’t going to be able to look back over the last four years and find a much more positive voice on a horrendous series of Denver Broncos teams. As positive and upbeat as Risner is, you’re also not going to find a guy that loves to compete like Risner, even if it means being a little hot-headed at times. Risner has long joked about if there’s a fight at practice, he’s probably in it or started it.
His work in the Denver community has been incredible, from the Risner Up foundation to countless other things.
Despite it all, that didn’t prevent one Broncos reporter from bringing up the hard-hitting topic at his media session.
At this point, you can’t help but laugh. Risner certainly made his mark in Denver, one way or another. So many fans were clamoring for him back in the 2019 NFL Draft process, partly because of the fact that Risner wanted to be a Bronco so badly at the time.
As much campaigning as Risner did leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft to live out his dream of being a Bronco, we’ve heard a completely different tune being sung from him lately. Is it notable that Risner isn’t wearing any Broncos apparel as he addresses the media here? Maybe, maybe not.
Is it notable that he talked about his time with the Broncos in the past tense a number of times? Definitely.
But Risner hasn’t closed the door on returning to the Broncos, and why would he? One of the latest reports about how much the Broncos might “value” Dalton Risner was from Risner himself. Risner stated as of December 1 that he had not received any contract offer from the Broncos. Part of the reason for that could be that the Broncos’ brain trust is not yet in place.
It’s likely that the team has put a hold on handing out contract extensions due to the fact that we don’t know who the team’s head coach will be. And with that, could George Paton’s job be on the line? It feels unlikely, but then stuff like this gets floated out there…
Let’s just explore that for a moment. If Paton’s job isn’t “guaranteed” if the Broncos should hire someone like Sean Payton or Jim Harbaugh, could that be a primary reason why players like Dalton Risner, Dre’Mont Jones, or even Bradley Chubb didn’t get extensions from the team?
It’s not out of the realm of possibility.
The result was the same (a loss) but there were some notable and significant differences for the Denver Broncos in their first game post-Nathaniel Hackett.
At any rate, we’ve possibly seen Dalton Risner play his last game in orange and blue. He’s been a great Bronco and a fantastic asset to the community. Friend to many. A true joy to listen to. If this is the end for Risner, then a Mile High Salute to him.