The Denver Broncos have taken some hits this year. From Pat Bowlen's son getting arrested, to Ryan Clady tearing his ACL, to rookie third round tight end Jeff Heuerman doing the same, to Derek Wolfe getting suspended four games, the last few months have been tumultuous.
Now, the Broncos have announced that Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward has been suspended for the first game of the 2015 season—a home showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. His suspension is the result of misdemeanor charges from May of 2014.
This comes at a most inopportune time, as the Broncos are in the process of trying to iron out their final roster. It's hard to say how a single-game suspension will affect the juxtaposition of the roster, but it strains the decisions.
Ward's suspension also doesn't help the organization's image. Two players suspended for violating league mandated rules reflects poorly on the team. Ward's foray into troubled waters last year came with allegations that he threw a bottle at a woman at a Denver night club. The misdemeanor charges were later dropped.
Nevertheless, the NFL chose to hand down discipline. But it leaves the Broncos starting off the 2015 season on the wrong foot. The Broncos have Darian Stewart and David Bruton to hold down the fort at safety in Ward's absence.
Bruton is more of a strong safety to begin with, so the Broncos do have an immediate, experienced player to step in during Ward's absence. But as talented as the Broncos defense is, losing a Pro Bowl-caliber player, even for one game, will have an effect.
Ward has already appealed the suspension and lost. Hopefully the Broncos can weather the loss.
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