A collection of Broncos attended the Denver Rescue Mission’s 19th annual holiday dinner party Monday night, with several players serving hot meals, handing out gifts and decorating cookies with children of families in the non-profit’s transitional housing program.
One player in specific, No. 3 with the red beard and Santa hat, doesn’t often get recognized as a football player out in public. On this night, though, one thankful rescue mission resident approached him with: “Hey, you’re the punter.”
Colby Wadman chuckled.
“I’m OK with that,” he said. “Being a punter, I do my job and not really worry about who is getting the glory.”
But a string of exceptional on-field performances is drawing more attention.
The Broncos’ misfire of signing former Raiders’ punter Marquette King looks less painful by the week with Wadman — undrafted from UC Davis in 2017, signed to the Broncos’ practice squad in September and activated since Week 5 at the Jets — quickly proving his value.
Wadman, in the midst of gusting winds at Cincinnati last week, dropped four of six punts inside the Bengals’ 20-yard line with a 42.7-yard net average. Afterward, he was presented a game ball.
“That was the first time I’ve ever gotten a game ball,” he said. “I’d never gotten one all through college or high school. So it was a pretty cool experience, honestly, something I definitely was pretty proud of and happy about.”
Wadman’s road to Denver began in 2017 when he hosted a workout for then Colts’ special teams coordinator Tom McMahon, who later extended an invitation to attend Indianapolis’ minicamp. Wadman got cut, but he left an indelible impression on McMahon, who came away convinced that Wadman would “be in the National Football League for a lot of years.”
Wadman received another chance to be taught by McMahon, who joined the Broncos’ coaching staff this year.
“The bottom line is, what I look for is the strongest leg I can find,” McMahon said.
One of Wadman’s more impressive boots came vs. the Steelers. He launched a punt 50 yards in the air and bounced it inside the Pittsburgh 5-yard line. Wide receiver Tim Patrick downed it at the 3.
“He put the football exactly where it’s supposed to be,” Patrick said. “We definitely give him love all the time because if he’s doing his job, it makes our job a whole lot easier, and he definitely knows how much we appreciate what he does.”
Added safety Will Parks: “It gives us confidence that if he kicks it right there, they’re not scoring. We know that.”
Wadman is thankful to be valued on a team still in the playoff chase entering Sunday’s game at the 49ers. He likes to give back, too, which is why he volunteered to help hungry families this week. And, week by week he’s building a good case to secure a long-term job with the Broncos.
“As each game goes on I feel more comfortable and confident,” Wadman said. “To go out there, relax and know I’ve done this so many times in my life. I’m just kicking a ball out here having fun. It’s been a great experience so far.”
Especially when pinning the opponent deep in its own territory.
“Making a team go 97 or 98 yards is a huge play. I go back, celebrate with my teammates, and with whoever is the one making that play, and enjoy that moment,” he said.