Randy Gregory praises Nik Bonitto and the Denver Broncos' edge rushers

Henry Chisholm Avatar
February 13, 2024

LAS VEGAS — Randy Gregory is still in touch with his former Broncos teammates.

“We all watch each others’ games,” Gregory said. “We’re all students of the game. We all want to get better. There’s a lot of stuff I can learn from them.”

And the young Broncos rushers are still learning from Gregory, too. Half of the outside linebackers told DNVR they’re still getting tips from Gregory and Frank Clark. (The other outside linebackers weren’t asked.)

Gregory and Clark were supposed to form a strong starting duo for the Broncos in 2023. Gregory, now 31, was in the second year of a five-year, $70 million deal. Clark, 30, joined the Broncos on a one-year contract. When he signed the deal, he ranked third in NFL history in postseason sacks.

But things turned south quickly.

Gregory had one sack in four games for the Broncos before he was traded to the 49ers. The Broncos paid the vast majority of his salary in order to make the deal go through. San Francisco sent a sixth-round pick to Denver in exchange for Gregory and a seventh.

Clark participated in two games for the Broncos but never started. He made two tackles before he was released.

Gregory made $26.3 million from the Broncos for less than two years of service.

Clark made $1.2 million for his short stint in Denver.

“I don’t want to say everything happens for a reason, but I’m happy,” Gregory said. “I’ve got a lot of guys on that team that I still care about, people on that staff that I care about. My family still lives there. I still have a lot of love there, but business is tough sometimes in this league.”

Gregory’s 49ers made it to the Super Bowl but lost to the Chiefs. Gregory’s big moment was a tackle on a Patrick Mahomes scramble that forced a punt. Somehow, Sunday was the first time Gregory had played the Chiefs.

“It’s tough to get here,” Gregory said before the game. “With the Cowboys, I’ve been in that first round, that second round, and see how tough it is to get out. Being in Denver and some of the growing pains we had there.”

Despite frequent contact with his former Broncos teammates, he didn’t hear from them in the leadup to the game. The last conversation was with Broncos defensive lineman DJ Jones (a former 49er) after San Francisco won the NFC Championship Game.

“They know not to bother me this week,” Gregory said.

Gregory is excited to see how the Broncos’ edge rushers grow, especially Nik Bonitto.

“I’ve always told him his main way he’s going to be able to win is he can run the hoop better than a lot of people in the league, better than I can,” Gregory said, referencing his ability to turn the corner quickly. “His big thing now is being able to put the whole thing together. He’s gotta be able to go inside, outside and through the guy. He has all the tools to be a great pass rusher in this league. He know that. He’s got all the tools.”

As for Gregory, free agency is up next.

“My journey hasn’t been a straight line,” Gregory said. “I’ve had a lot of detours. To be able get through all that and still be here kicking is cool.”


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