After suffering an ACL tear on December 30th in the Orange Bowl, former Michigan and current Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt is expected to be back in action in August or September.
The Broncos, who took a chance on the Mackey Award winner, feel that Butt can be faster than many have expected.
“We thought May, no, I'm joking," Broncos executive vice president and general manager John Elway said to Colorado reporters. “We’re thinking August-September is what we kind of thought. Once we get him in here, ‘Greek’ (Director of Sports Medicine Steve Antonopulos) will take a look at him. We’ll figure out what that timeline is. We know that it's going to take him some time, so we're going to make sure we get him healthy and he's right before we push him into anything. ‘Greek’ will take good care of him.”
The star tight end at Michigan began running with an anti-gravity treadmill a few weeks ago. He is looking to build on the momentous progress already made.
“In terms of the injury, I’m right on schedule,” Butt told the reporters on a conference call. “The plan right now is to be ready for the beginning of the season. I don’t see why that’s not possible, so I can’t wait to get out there in Denver and start working.”
Last season, the Broncos were one of the worst teams at the tight end position in the National Football League. The combination of Virgil Green, A.J. Derby, and Jeff Heuerman, three of the seven tights ends on Denver’s roster last season, struggled throughout the entire season. Green made the biggest impact, catching 22 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown.
“Jake falling to the fifth, we were fortunate he was there,” Elway said. “The tight end position we thought was probably a position of need for us and plus with Jake's injury, that pushed him down. We were very fortunate to get him that far in the fifth round, so we're excited about that, to be able to get him.”
Butt fell late in the draft due to his injury in Michigan’s bowl game and has the chance to make an impact on Day 1 with the Broncos. The combination of his skills as a receiver and a blocker help make Butt so valuable.
“If he wasn’t hurt, he would’ve been a top two-round guy,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “As an end-line blocker, he’s very efficient. He’s got great ball skills and is a great route runner. He was awesome in the red zone for Michigan the last two or three years, so yes, absolutely he can be a Y or a move guy for you. That makes him valuable.”
During the 2016 season for Michigan, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end caught 46 passes for 546 yards and four scores.