Broncos’ Montrell Washington takes learning lesson from NFL debut, eager to prove big-play potential


On the first return of his NFL career, rookie Montrell Washington took the kick from three yards deep in the left side of the end zone and ran it out, despite the protection called to the right side of the field.

Washington was tackled at the 10-yard line, 15 yards behind where Russell Wilson & Co. could’ve started if Washington had taken a knee. That play in Week 1 in Seattle led to a “conversation” between Washington and special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes, also new on the job in Denver.

The rookie, who was playing at FCS Samford this time last year, acknowledged he made an adrenaline-fueled, in-the-moment decision to bring that kick out instead of getting the touchback.

“I was like ‘Okay, first return, boom let’s go,’” Washington said. “In practice we’ve done it a couple times to where there are situations where I will take it out and reverse the field back towards the (blockers). In that scenario I was just excited, but I definitely know now for sure to make the smart decision to take a knee going forward.”

And going forward, the Broncos hope Washington and his special teams blockers can settle in to give the Broncos an edge where they haven’t had one for years. Denver hasn’t had a punt return for a touchdown since Dec. 13, 2020 (Diontae Spencer in Week 14 against Carolina, 83 yards), or a kick return for a touchdown since Sept. 29, 2013 (Trindon Holliday in Week 8 vs Eagles, 105 yards).


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