Fangio: Discipline still on table for Broncos’ QBs

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Fangio: Discipline still on table for Broncos' QBs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio hopes three of his quarterbacks will be cleared Tuesday to return to work and said Monday that additional discipline is still “on the table” for Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles.

The Broncos were without their entire quarterback depth chart for Sunday’s 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints as Lock, Rypien and Bortles, who is on the practice squad, were all designated “high-risk” close contacts to Jeff Driskel, who tested positive Thursday for COVID-19. The four quarterbacks were determined to have broken protocols by not wearing masks at all times or social distancing properly, including in a Tuesday meeting with Driskel.

Lock, the team’s starting quarterback, issued an apology on social media before Sunday’s game and said he made an “honest mistake, but one that I will own.”

In their place, the Broncos used the team’s running backs at quarterback as well as practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who played quarterback in three of his seasons at Wake Forest. Hinton finished just 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards with two interceptions as the Broncos gained 112 yards overall.

The Broncos, who were fined $250,000 earlier in the season for not following mask protocols — Fangio was also fined $100,000 — face the prospect of a fine as well as a potential loss of an NFL draft pick for the latest incident. Fangio said Monday that all four quarterbacks could still face team discipline as well.

“We’re going to consider all that and, again, try to see what the league, if they have anything planned and if not, we’ll take our measures,” Fangio said.

Asked if that would include a fine or a one-game suspension, Fangio added: “Everything’s on the table, but right now I would say it’s more the fine mode.”

Fangio said Monday that all of the Broncos’ players, including Lock, Rypien and Bortles, had tested negative Monday morning and “they have to be negative again [Tuesday] … then they’ll be allowed to rejoin as normal.”

Fangio said the option of quarantining a quarterback would be discussed for future weeks, “but I think if we just follow the protocols, we’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, Lock’s mother, Laura Lock, took to Twitter on Monday to sharply respond to some of her son’s critics, condemning those Broncos fans and others who were apparently unhappy with his and his fellow Denver quarterbacks’ COVID-19 absences.

“Shame on the many for thinking that they can speak of others in damning ways,” she wrote in a lengthy Twitter post, before going on to call the quarterbacks’ failure to wear their masks the whole time they were together “unfortunate — not damning.”

Also Monday, the Broncos (4-7) added to their numbers at quarterback by signing former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who also is the son of Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The younger Shurmur needs to pass through COVID-19 protocols, but he is on track to work with his father and the Broncos.

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