T.J. Ward had been a staple of the Denver Broncos’ defense for the past three seasons, but the veteran safety didn’t depart The Mile High City on the best of terms.
The Broncos surprised many when they released Ward as part of Saturday’s roster cutdown. The 30-year-old was entering the final year of his four-year, $22.5 million deal and had expressed desire to remain in Denver for the duration of his NFL career.
It didn’t take long for Ward to find a new home, though, as the three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shortly after being waived. While Ward has begun the next chapter of his career, it’s clear he still has an ax to grind with his former club.
“I just think they handled it completely unprofessional,” Ward told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “They could have let me know that was going on. You had a full offseason, ya know? I know it’s a business, but when you have good employees, you’re supposed to treat your employees a certain way.”
Aside from Ward’s age and contract situation, Broncos general manager John Elway noted that the impressive play of rookie safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks allowed for Ward’s release to happen. As for new Denver head coach Vance Joseph, he took a rather Bill Belichick-esque approach when asked about Ward’s departure.
“My thoughts are that T.J. was a great player for this franchise. They won a lot of games with this guy,” Joseph said. “We’re going to miss having T.J., good person, good man, but we’re on to the Chargers. That’s behind us, and we wish him well.”
Unfortunately for Ward, the Broncos and Bucs do not meet in the 2017 regular season, so he probably won’t have an opportunity to showcase his feelings toward his former team on the football field.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images