ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson cleared concussion protocol, but will be held out of the Denver's game against the Arizona Cardinals, coach Nanthaniel Hackett said Friday.
Hackett said Wilson wasn't pleased with the decision, but the Broncos want to take every precaution with their 34-year-old quarterback's health.
Wilson sustained a concussion on a head-first dive into several defenders at the goal line following a 14-yard scramble against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend.
He appeared to get briefly knocked unconscious and when his helmet was removed a swelling was clearly visable on his forehead. He was replaced by Brett Rypien, who will make his third career start Sunday.
Wilson swiftly progressed through the league's concussion rules this week, participating in individual throwing drills Wednesday, taking limited snaps Thursday and participating fully on Friday.
After Friday's practice, however, Hackett said Rypien, who got the bulk of the snaps at practice this week, would start Sunday when the Broncos (3-10) host Arizona (4-9).
The Cardinals also will start their backup, Colt McCoy, with starter Kyler Murray sidelined by an ACL tear in his right knee he suffered last week.
“Russell Wilson has passed the concussion protocol," Hackett said. “... As an organization, we’ve decided to give him another week so he’s ready to go against the Los Angeles Rams” on Christmas Day."
Hackett had said all week that the organization's top concern was Wilson's health, so the move wasn't entirely unexpected.
Wilson has only missed four games in his 11-year NFL career, three of them last season in Seattle when he broke a finger on his throwing hand and one earlier this season because of a pulled hamstring.
“Russ is one of our ultimate competitors in this game. He's unbelievable,” Hackett said. "We informed him of the decision. He's not happy with it. He wants to be out there and play. He's very, very competitive, as we all know, and wants to compete for this team and be out there.
“And we as an organization, after discussing and talking throughout this entire week, have decided it's best for our organization, it's best for Russell. And we talked about this from top all the way to the bottom,” Hackett said. “So we looked at every single thing and just want to give him another week to get ready. We're very confident in ‘Ryp,’ very excited about 'Ryp and this opportunity."
Rypien has made two career starts, both against the New York Jets, whom he beat in 2020 and lost to on Oct. 23 when Wilson was sidelined.
Wilson's difficult first season in Denver includes just 11 touchdown passes — three of which came last week before he got hurt early in the fourth quarter— and 43 sacks after he signed a $245 million contract before the season that included a $50 million signing bonus, making his salary this season $57 million.
Wilson's acquisition cost the Broncos four premium draft picks, including their 2023 first-rounder. With Denver's unexpected struggles this year, Seattle stands to get the second overall pick in the NFL draft next April.
Also ruled out Friday were receivers Courtland Sutton and Kendall Hinton, who are among a rash of Broncos who have pulled hamstrings.