NEWARK, N.J. -- Marquette King arrived with the promise and confidence. He introduced himself in his first press conference thusly, "The King is here!" Four games into the season, the King is gone. He will exit stage left to the injured reserve list until he's released in a few weeks. Enter unproven rookie punter Colby Wadman.
Wadman makes his pro debut Sunday against the Jets as the punter and holder for kicks, completing a made-for-TV-movie journey from University of California Davis star to part-time pizza delivery man as he pursued his NFL dream for two years following graduation.
Wadman insists he's ready to prove himself. King set the bar low, a disappointment in every way during his brief tenure with the Broncos. King ranked 22nd in the league with a 44.1 yard average, and delivered multiple clumsy punts in back-to-back losses to Baltimore and Kansas City. According to sources, King aggravated a groin injury in his right punting leg against Kansas City. ESPN reported Saturday he will visit a specialist in Northern California because of a lingering sports hernia issue.
King's performance -- dramatically worse than his career numbers -- suggests something was amiss. But special teams coach Tom McMahon, when asked directly if King's statistics were related to him being injured, said, "No injury, zero. Not until now.”
King drew the ire of the organization for his trolling of Raiders coach Jon Gruden with a video of a Chucky doll decorated in money after the Broncos Week 2 victory. The Raiders cut King, who said he never talked with Gruden before the decision.
The Broncos signed King to a three-year deal as an upgrade over Riley Dixon. To move on from King, the Broncos will eat $1.5 million of his $2 million guarantee.
While the Broncos hit a bonanza in the draft, their free agent additions have been uneven. Defensive lineman Clinton McDonald, whose contract was reworked because of a shoulder issue, was cut, and King is out, and Tramaine Brock is the fourth cornerback. However, veteran corner Adam Jones has played well as a late addition, and Jared Veldheer was anchoring the right tackle spot before suffering a bone bruise in his knee. He is sidelined this week, and possibly longer.
Friday, Wadman told Denver7 he gave his dream three years after graduating college. He lived with friends, delivered pizzas in Southern California and eventually moved in with his parents. Devoting more time to football, Wadman improved, and earned the attention of McMahon. McMahon said Wadman's confidence is high. Wadman won't be intimidated by MetLife Stadium after playing small college football.
"We played at Oregon my senior year. Pretty decent size, obviously, 55-60,000 or something like that. Size of the stadium doesn’t mean a thing to me," Wadman said. "I’m just kicking, no matter where I’m at. If it’s 10,000 people there or 60,000 people, I’m just kicking the ball. It’s the same thing at the end of the day. Obviously, I haven’t kicked in two years, but being out here in practice, working out with the team, everything like that, they’re all telling me how much they believe in me."