Levels of professionalism count, especially once you hit the rarefied air of the NFL. Traditionally, even players coming from elite college backgrounds find that making the next step up is considerable and often daunting.
Throw in the well-documented pitfalls which come with immediate wealth and fame and it's apparent how potential doesn’t always translate into production.
Coming out of Alabama in 2020, the path to stardom for Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy seemed assured considering his astonishing speed and precise route-running. Things have proved difficult thus far for Jeudy, however, with injuries, drop issues, and a recent arrest all combining to make the journey much more turbulent.
At times it's looked like Jeudy desperately needed a stronger voice in the huddle and meeting rooms to guide him through the transition from college to pros. Now, as fate would have it, battle-hardened quarterback Russell Wilson has entered the Broncos' new dynamic.
And, consequently, Jeudy sounds like he’s reassessed what it takes to be a pro after observing his new locker room leader at close range.
“Every detail matters with him. You learn a lot, just how hard he works and how focused he is when he’s on the field and on the board,” Jeudy said last month at his football camp, via Troy Renck of Denver7. “You realize how locked in he is. I’ve learned a lot. He’s a great quarterback. I’m excited to play with him. I mean it’s going to be very exciting. I feel like we are going to be a very explosive team. I feel like we’ve got all the pieces we needed, so we’ve just gotta put it together. And I am excited that is going to happen.”
Heading into year three, it's prove-it time for the explosive pass-catcher, and with his legal charges since dropped, Jeudy has a clean slate to work off moving forward. But the warning shot still resonates; only he is in charge of keeping his career on the right track.
“I wasn’t really nervous because I knew the situation wasn’t supposed to be what (was) out there,” Jeudy explained. “It’s a good thing that everything was cleared up. It’s behind me. I’m just focused on the future. Everything turned out well. I don’t want to put myself and the team in a position like that. So, I’m glad everything was handled the way it needed to be.”
Many pundits have pegged Jeudy to be a breakout player in 2022, adding to the sense of heightened expectations. Some notable highlight-reel plays and long touchdown catches have shown what he can do, and that encouraged Broncos Country.
Now that Wilson is delivering the football, and with the luxury of being surrounded by veterans in his own positional group, the honeymoon period is over for Jeudy. It's officially time to deliver.