Broncos RB Javonte Williams takes part in OTAs on limited basis while continuing recovery from serious knee injury

May 25—ENGLEWOOD — Running back Javonte Williams continues to make strides in what has the makings of a rapid recovery from a serious knee injury.

Broncos coach Sean Payton said earlier this month he was optimistic about Williams being ready for the start of training camp in late July. On Thursday, he was on the field at Centura Health Training Center for organized team activities on a limited basis.

Williams, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) last October, didn't do much in the non-contact workout but he did take handoffs. And it now looks even more likely he will be ready for the start of the regular season.

"We do a medical report every night," Payton said. "We list the players as full, limited or out and so he's working in a limited capacity. We're being smart. Obviously, and I said this to you before, we were encouraged heading into this time of the season. So it's good to have him out there."

Williams, who rushed for 903 yards as a rookie in 2021, was hurt on Oct. 4, 2022, at Las Vegas. That ended his season in the fourth game he played with quarterback Russell Wilson, then in his first Broncos season.

"Javonte's one of the best backs in the game," Wilson said. "He's a guy hard to tackle. He's got great hands. He's great in protection. He strikes guys in protection He runs through holes, runs through tackles. He brings a lot of great confidence in what he can do."


When kicker Brandon McManus was released by the Broncos on Tuesday, he tweeted that there would be "more to come in the following days." What came Thursday was McManus signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The move on McManus saved the Broncos $2.518 million of salary-cap room. Payton said Thursday the money obtained by letting McManus go could be used elsewhere.

"You're constantly looking at what's in the best interest for your team," Payton said. "A lot of the time, money and what your 'musts' are come into it. ... The transactions continue here from now until training camp. There may be a player of two that we are still looking to sign. We factored a lot of that in and then we made that decision."

McManus was the last remaining player from Denver's 2015 Super Bowl-winning team and had just a so-so season in 2022. To create room on the roster for McManus, the Jaguars traded kicker Riley Patterson to Detroit for an undisclosed draft choice.


Payton said veteran safety Kareem Jackson, who agreed to a one-year contract May 8 and officially re-signed May 15, will join the team next week for the second week of OTAs.

Jackson, 35, is in line to play a fifth straight season with Denver. Payton likes what the veteran brings.

"He's experienced and he's got really good instincts," Payton said. "At his age, it's impressive he's been healthy. Then you look at pitch count, what's the vision and all of those things. That was exciting for us and for him."


Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy left Thursday's workout briefly with a thigh bruise, but Payton said he will be fine. ... Among those not present Thursday were defensive tackle D.J. Jones and outside linebacker Baron Browning. "Everyone that's not here today, I've communicated with. ... One-by-one, you will see them, and that's where we are at," Payton said. ... The coach said the "process is going well" with the Broncos "installing an entirely new offense." ... Payton said rookies, as expected, "are behind a little" but he expects them to be "up to speed" when training camp starts in late July.