Denver Broncos second-year defensive lineman Derek Wolfe was taken off Century Link Field in an ambulance with 9:13 left in the first quarter of Saturday's preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Even on television replays, the cause of the injury was unclear. But Wolfe was secured and immobilized on a stretcher in a manner usually used to prevent further damage in a neck or spinal injury.
The Broncos said in a statement after the game that Wolfe was treated for a cervical spine injury but had movement in all of his extremities. All tests were negative and Wolfe was to return to Denver with the team on Saturday evening.
Wolfe, the Broncos' 36th overall selection in the 2012 draft out of Cincinnati, was beginning to take an important role with the team, with both his play and leadership on the field. With the loss of Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore in a fax machine fiasco, Wolfe stepped up and was already acknowledged by teammates as a new, young leader.
All-Pro teammate Von Miller said as much earlier in the week. .
"Coming out here when we started OTAs, he was already first and the leader in the group out of Year 2." Miller told ESPN. "I talked to him about (Houston's) J.J. Watt and the jump that he had from Year 1 to Year 2. I think he can do the same type of stuff. I think you just keep working hard; I think he'll have the same type of effect for our defense."
Wolfe's abilities are not like either Dumervil or Watt, but he is noted for his all-around ability that could serve the defense anywhere along the line.