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Connor McGovern responds to report that teammate Matt Paradis is "hated in the locker room"

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
February 8, 2019

File this one under “Huh?”

Earlier this week, an odd report surfaced on Twitter regarding Broncos longtime center and upcoming unrestricted free agent Matt Paradis.

The report, which came from @NFLDraftBites, an account with more than 13,000 followers, suggested multiple negative things about Paradis that served as a surprise to just about anybody who has followed the Broncos since Paradis came into the league in 2014.

“Impending Free Agent Center Broncos Matt Paradis highly coveted by fans,” the questionable tweet reads. “Heard from multiple sources ‘Paradis is hated in the locker room. Small Man syndrome. No accident O Line played better without him.’ Harsh indictment, but revealing.”

The tweet has already sparked a lot of support for Paradis—who stands at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds—from fans, pundits and former teammates on Twitter, and on Friday, current teammate Connor McGovern spoke about the report with Matt McChesney on BSN Denver’s McChesney Unchained Podcast.

“I don’t know one guy who would say that. Paradis is the best guy in the locker room,” he said. “It’s the most mind-blowing thing I’ve ever heard—you couldn’t be more wrong about something.”

It’s important to note that this is coming from the guy who backs up Paradis at center and may be the only teammate who would potentially have a reason to try and disparage his value to the team.

“If he feels like he needs to talk, he’ll say something. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t,” McGovern added of his leadership. “He’s not a hoot and holler, rah-rah type of guy. He says what needs to be said. He comes in every day with the biggest smile on his face, and there isn’t a guy in the locker room that doesn’t say ‘good morning’ to Matt Paradis. There is not a day that he walks into the locker room without a smile. It doesn’t matter how bad of a day he’s having, how bad his hips are hurting, it doesn’t matter if his ankle is broken in 18 places, he’s still coming in, saying ‘hi’ to everybody and asking everybody how their day is. It’s a mind-blowing comment.”

Those sentiments go along with what I have experienced during my time in the Broncos locker room. Paradis seems to get along with just about all of his teammates and most certainly always has a smile on. Also, he is one of the rare cases of a guy who doesn’t particularly like talking to the media and is still liked by the media.

If you ask me, it’s safe to say you can go ahead and disregard that report.

That wasn’t the end of the conversation on the podcast, though, regarding Paradis. As mentioned above, the four-year starter for the Broncos at center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there is still some question as to whether the Broncos will be willing to pony up for the former sixth-round pick.

As the discussion about Paradis evolved, there was an interesting exchange about what he may be looking for come March.

“Matt Paradis is going to get paid either here or somewhere else,” McChesney said. “We work with [Buccaneers center] Ryan Jensen in here a lot… Ryan got 11.5 million a year, I’d imagine Paradis will get at least 12.”

“Paradis’ goal is to match Jensen but with more guaranteed money,” McGovern responded. “That’s his goal.”

To be exact, Ryan Jensen, a Colorado native, signed a four- year, $42 million deal with the Buccaneers in 2018 that included $22 million in guarantees. The deal made him the highest paid center in NFL history.

That would be a massive deal for Paradis, but the Broncos currently have more than $37 million in cap space for the 2019 season with plenty more available to them if they are willing to move on from some highly-paid veterans. With that said, the Broncos also have some other big holes they need to fill.

One thing is for sure, wherever he signs, Matt Paradis’ standing locker in the room will be helping—not hurting—his contract value.


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