On Monday, Denver Broncos left guard and fan-favorite Dalton Risner hosted a youth football camp in his hometown of Wiggins, CO. Approximately 400 kids participated in the camp hosted by Risner’s foundation Risner Up, in both morning and afternoon practices.
The popularity of the camp quickly reached maximum limits with registration closing and still accepted walk-on athletes to participate in the day’s practice, ensuring not a single kid was left out.
During a short media session on location at his former high school, Risner addressed the Mile High hype surrounding the Broncos, which has been fueled, in part, by Pro Football Focus ranking Denver's roster as the NFL's 10th-best.
“I don’t care about all the talk," Risner said via George Stoia of the Colorado Springs Gazette. "I could care less how good everybody thinks we’re going to be. It’s about time we quit talking and go out and do it. We’ve talked the last two years and won six games and five games, it’s unacceptable. I don’t care about all the talk; I could care less what anybody has to say about how good we’re going to be. That’s not proven until we go out there and do it.”
The time for talk is officially over when the Broncos open training camp on July 28. Although all eyes will be on the quarterback battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, you can be sure that Risner and the O-line will have internal competition and expectations to deliver.
Risner went on to emphasize yet again that he has "full faith" in Lock. But again, Risner urges Lock to "go out there and be about it" and fulfill the lofty expectations his rookie-camp roommate has for him.
“My mindset and I think everyone on our team thinks this way, is let’s go out there and be better football players," Risner told Stoia. “Let’s go out there and win some football games and then we can talk. Then, we can talk about how great that draft pick was. Then we could talk about how great the offensive line is coming together. How great Drew Lock’s playing, how great the defense is. Until then, It’s just numbers, it’s just stats. Let’s go out and win football games, let's quit talking. Let’s go out there and be about it. You never want to be the guy that talks about it all the time and always falls short.”
Risner, now in his third NFL season, was originally selected by the Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft and has gone on to start all 32 games for Denver. As a rookie, the former Kansas State Wildcat played next to left tackle Garett Bolles where the two men instantly developed chemistry on Mike Munchak’s offensive line.
One season later, Bolles earned second-team All-Pro honors in addition to signing a four-year, $68 million contract extension.
As Bolles turned the corner on one side, Risner assisted and supported rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry III on the other. Cushenberry started all 16 games for Denver in 2020.
Although Risner's red-hot rookie campaign did not carry over into Year 2, he was still a consistent and solid player. According to PFF, he played 1,015 snaps in the 2020 season, allowing just six total QB hits, 28 total pressures, and did not draw any penalties or give up any sacks.
So, while some have been critical of Risner’s performance last season, it finally seems like the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Wiggins native can develop at his position. Heck, the guy has played all five positions on the line from high school to college, which enriched his versatility and overall value to an NFL team.
As for the Risner Up camp, the Broncos lineman is just grateful to provide people with an opportunity.
“There are people out there that need this today,” Risner told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “They need a free meal. They need some free drinks and snacks, a free shirt. They need a reason to smile today. There’s a lot of kids that can’t go to these camps because they have to pay. For my foundation, The Risner Up Foundation to partner with Wiggins High School Football and my father Mitch, is a blessing. How cool is that for a family to come back together and give back to the community and give back to communities all around. I’m happy to be here.”
Follow Luke on Twitter @LukePattersonLP.
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