Christian Ponder got a phone call on Tuesday. By Wednesday, he was a member of the Denver Broncos.
“I’ve been in Phoenix — we live there for the offseason — just working out, waiting for the call to come and fortunately it did yesterday when I was shopping for groceries for Thanksgiving,” Ponder told reporters on Wednesday. “I had to drop everything and get on a flight.”
Ponder gladly left home abruptly for the opportunity to return to the NFL. The team that called him made it a bonus.
“I grew up a Broncos fan, a John Elway fan,” Ponder said. “I was No. 7 [in] little league baseball through college and four years in Minnesota because of that. I’m excited to be here.”
Ponder spent four years with the Vikings as a first-round pick in 2011. He joined the Raiders in the offseason, but he was cut before the regular season began. Those experiences could help him pick up the offense in Denver.
“I have a little bit of background with this kind of offense and what I ran with [Raiders Offensive Coordinator Bill] Musgrave in Minnesota and Oakland,” Ponder said. “There is a little different verbiage, but hopefully in a week or so, I’ll start getting stuff down, maybe shorter than that. I’m going to put in the time and the effort to do it as quick as possible.”
The Broncos need him to do that, because they realized based on Peyton Manning’s status that they don’t have much experience in Brock Osweiler and undrafted rookie Trevor Siemian.
“[W]e’re sitting here with a guy who has one start in this league and a kid who doesn’t have a play,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Wednesday. “Me and [G.M.] John [Elway] started thinking about the concern if something happened. Good that Christian was out there. . . . He came in, worked out well. Hopefully we can catch him up a little bit.”
For now, Siemian will be the backup to Osweiler. Eventually, Ponder could take the spot.
Of course, eventually, Ponder also could be back in Phoenix buying Christmas presents, too. If/when Manning is healthy, there’s no way the Broncos will carry four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.