ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Months after he raised plenty of eyebrows in the Rocky Mountain region for how he left the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler addressed his exit in free agency to Denver media Thursday.
A second-round pick in the 2012 draft, Osweiler spent four years in Denver before signing a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans this past March. The Broncos and Texans face each other Monday night in Denver, Osweiler’s first trip in as a visiting quarterback.
His departure from Denver wasn’t smooth, and many within the Broncos organization said Osweiler had little or no contact with teammates or others with the team in the weeks leading up to free agency.
Osweiler did not attend the Broncos’ trip to the White House in June when the team was honored by President Barack Obama. He also skipped the Broncos’ ring ceremony in June as well as Peyton Manning’s retirement news conference in March.
Thursday, Osweiler repeatedly said he “had nothing but respect” as well as “love and appreciation” and “gratitude” for Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway, his former teammates with the Broncos and Broncos fans.
On the White House trip, Osweiler said the Texans were in the middle of their OTAs.
“The White House was pretty simply — we had an OTA that Monday, you know, as we’ve talked in the past,” Osweiler said. “Learning a new offense, a new system, you know, like we went through in 2015 in Denver. It takes a lot of time, a lot of repetitions. You can even multiply that when you’re trying to learn a new system and new teammates and build chemistry.
“Bottom line, I wasn’t at the White House because we had an OTA that Monday when the Broncos visited the president and the White House, and I felt like it was important for me to be here with my new teammates.”
Osweiler offered the same explanation for the ring ceremony, a ceremony other players who had signed elsewhere in free agency, such as linebacker Danny Trevathan, safety David Bruton Jr. and defensive end Malik Jackson, did attend.
“Ring ceremony, same deal — ring ceremony was Sunday night, we had a practice Monday morning, and if I went to the ring ceremony, I wouldn’t have been able to catch a flight back for OTAs,” Osweiler said. “Every single day is important.”
For Manning’s retirement news conference, Osweiler said he was on vacation with his family, including his wife, parents and brother, and didn’t want to leave the group. He said he reached out at the time, to Manning, and had exchanged several text messages with Manning.
“I’m not sure why that would come across as a bad look,” Osweiler said. “I wasn’t going to leave the one vacation that I get with my parents and my brother and my wife to race back last minute. Bottom line, I have nothing but respect for Peyton Manning. … He was always a great teammate to me, he’s still a great friend to this day. … For me not being at the press conference, that’s not a story.”
Osweiler said he also saw Elway in Idaho this past summer and had a “great conversation with him.”
After the Texans had announced Osweiler had signed with the team, Elway issued a statement that said, in part, “We’ve stayed true to our philosophy of building a team with players who want to be Denver Broncos and want to be here.”