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Denver Broncos starting linebacker Jonas Griffith injures elbow 40 seconds into preseason

Vincent Frank

A former undrafted free agent out of Indiana State, linebacker Jonas Griffith enters his third NFL season as the Denver Broncos starting linebacker.

Griffith, 25, joined a few other Broncos defenders in starting the team’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday evening. Said appearance was short-lived with the linebacker suffering a seemingly serious elbow injury a mere 40 seconds into the game.

Griffith was seen on the field in Mile High in pain as he exited for the locker room. Denver almost immediately ruled him out for the remainder of the game.

These are the issues that come with teams deciding to play starters in the preseason. Those who are against preseason games actually being played could also use similar injuries as a way to make their point.

From a micro perspective, this could prove to be a huge deal for a Super Bowl-contending Broncos team that’s thin at linebacker.

Related: Denver Broncos standing in Sportsnaut’s latest NFL defensive rankings

Jonas Griffith excelled in first season with the Denver Broncos

jonas griffith injury, denver broncos
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

An undrafted free agent of the San Francisco 49ers back in 2020, Griffith was waived by his original team during the summer that season. He spent six days on the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad during the season before returning to San Francisco.

That’s when things took off for the former All-American at Indiana State. Griffith impressed enough during training camp and the preseason to warrant the Broncos exhausting draft capital on a trade with San Francisco. Once in Denver, Griffith proved he was more than up to the task.

  • Jonas Griffith stats (2021): 46 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 QB hits

This was enough for Denver to install him as one of its starting inside linebackers next to Josey Jewell. It’s one of the areas that the Broncos have struggled finding impact players in recent years. The hope is that Griffith will change this. Heading into the preseason opener, that seemed to be the case.

“I always had faith in myself to get to this position. I didn’t think it would happen this quick, but I was always ready for it to happen. [I] just stayed prepared and tried to stay ready so when my number was called, I was ready to make a play and show the coaches I was capable.”

Jonas Griffith to reporters during training camp

We’ll have further updates on this situation as it breaks. Again, we wish the best for the young linebacker.