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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Brock Osweiler has some scars.
“It’s kind of like that old deal when you are a little kid, and your mom tells you not to touch the hot stove,” Osweiler explained to the media on his first day with the Broncos. “So, what do you have to do as a curious kid? You’ve got to touch the hot stove. And you learn real quick how nice that stove is when it’s not hot.”
The hot stove, of course, was the Houston Texans’ four-year, $72 million contract offer during free agency in 2016. Osweiler touched “the hot stove,” got his money from the Texans, and then the Cleveland Browns, and ended up with a bad burn—getting beat out by a rookie quarterback and later released by the Browns, who were a 1-15 football team less than a year ago.
Despite leaving the then-Super Bowl Champions—and their $16 million per year contract offer—for what by all means ended up being a brutal year in many ways for Osweiler, he wouldn’t change the path he traveled.
“I have no regret on my decision. I really don’t. I’m not that type of person that lives his life in regret,” he said when asked if he regretted leaving Denver for Houston. “I also don’t look in the rearview mirror; I’m always looking forward. There’s no regret on the decision made, however, I would say that I’m ecstatic to be back here.”
On Monday morning, less than 18 months from the time he chose the Texans over the Broncos, the 26-year old quarterback passed his physical and officially become a member of the Denver Broncos, again.
What seemed like a quick decision to join the Texans in the public eye—Osweiler didn’t meet with Houston’s leadership in person and had never met Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien before signing with the team—wasn’t as knee-jerk of a decision behind the scenes.
“I want people to know that decision didn’t come lightly. I didn’t sleep for about a week. I was sick to my stomach every single day. I was a mess,” Denver’s newest quarterback said. “At the end of the day, I tried to make 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.”
On his way to speak with media after his first practice in the Mile High City, the grateful quarterback thanked his new head coach Vance Joseph as he walked off the practice field. One of many ‘thank you’s’ apparently handed out by No. 17 on his first day back with his old team.
“I think that was my fifth time thanking coach for bringing me back and I know I’ve thanked John [Elway] up and down,” Osweiler said. “I’m beyond excited that [signing with the Broncos took] place. This is home, and I’m so thankful for this opportunity…It’s so great to be a Bronco again and be back in Colorado.”
After a grueling 18 months, in NFL terms, Brock would do anything to be back in Denver. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
“Shoot, I’d come back here to be the water boy,” he joked. “It’s funny, I went in to go get cleats today, and they asked what cleats I wanted, and I said ‘I don’t care. Just give me something. I’ll go out there in bare feet.’”
While the Texans contract offer was greater than the Broncos offer in every way back in 2016, it didn’t matter this time around.
“There were other offers, and I basically told my agency ‘Listen, I love and respect you guys and love what you guys do, but if there is an offer from Denver, I don’t care if it’s a dollar, that’s where we’re going.’”
Brock’s “Denver or bust” mentality over the weekend was a gesture showing how much he wanted to be back with the team that drafted him in the second round in 2012. But in reality, he was going to make $16 million this year no matter who, if anyone, signed him.
Osweiler’s one-year deal with Denver is for the veteran minimum of $775,000. However, Cleveland will pick up the other $15.25 million, finishing out the $37 million guaranteed that he signed up for last March.
After leaving Broncos Country in the dust not even two years ago, Brock used his first day on the job to try to win put himself in the good graces of the fan base again and win a few brownie points with the numerous compliments to the organization. What may end up being his greatest tool to accomplish this, however, is his role with the team.
“This is Trevor’s team, and I’m the backup,” the former second-round pick said bluntly. “My role is to be the backup quarterback to this team, and that’s where it should be…I’m completely ready to support Trevor with whatever he needs. That’s the first thing I said to him when we talked [Sunday]. I said ‘Trev’ this is your team, man. And I’m here to do anything you need me to do to help you prepare and win football games.’”
If the old football adage ‘The backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town’ holds true, it won’t be long until Broncos Country forgives the man that helped them win their third world championship.