DENVER -- A lingering neck injury and subsequent numbness in his arm ended Derek Wolfe's season on Tuesday.
It came as no surprise. Wolfe told Denver7 he has been dealing with neck pain off and on since last season, the result of hand sparring and violence in the trenches. He experienced numbness in back-to-back games, leaving the Oakland game prematurely. After multiple doctor visits, the Broncos and Wolfe determined he should shut it down. For now, the doctors have prescribed rest.
"It's a common injury in football. I will come back stronger," Wolfe told Denver7.
There's no timetable yet for Wolfe's recovery. But this step was necessary. Wolfe played through a broken elbow last season and endless neck pain. With the Broncos' a long-shot to reach the playoffs, it made sense to exercise caution. Wolfe signed a four-year, $36.9 million contract during the Broncos 2015 postseason run. He can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, however, the Broncos can exercise an out prior to next season, though it would create $3.75 million in dead cap money.
Wolfe finished the season with 31 tackles and two sacks, and helped anchor a vastly improved rush defense. He earned teammates' respect for his toughness, and took on an added leadership role this season. He is a fan favorite because of his brutish style of play, howls after sacks and his DEFWU (Don't Ever (Bleep) With Us).
With Wolfe out, the Broncos remain thin along the defensive line. Domata Peko told Denver7 his sprained left knee is improving. He removed the brace, and has not ruled out playing this Sunday against the New York Jets.