Many Broncos players are in Europe for the first time as the team prepares to face the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. But for punter Corliss Waitman, it's quite the opposite.
Waitman was born in Belgium and grew up in the Netherlands while his father played professional basketball in the Dutch leagues. He told ESPN’s Jeff Legwold that when he chose to play American football, he never imagined the sport would bring him back across the pond.
"It will be a little weird," Waitman told Legwold. "OK, a lot weird. Of all the things I thought could happen in football, I'm not sure I would have said I'd be back in Europe, with so many friends and family coming to see me play a game I didn't really know anything about until I was in high school. That isn't something I could have predicted."
Legwold noted that Waitman did not pay much attention to football while living in Europe, focusing more on soccer and track. But he and his father moved to Florida before Waitman started high school, and he learned that football was extremely popular in the American school system.
"It didn't take long for Waitman to discover the athletic pecking order," Legwold wrote. "Football was king. When Waitman arrived as a sophomore he started off by handling some kickoff duties for the Milton High School football team before being named an all-state punter his senior year."
His success with his high school football team led him to the University of South Alabama, and eventually, after a tough journey to earn a spot on an NFL roster, he became the Broncos' punter in 2022. Legwold noted that seeing the Broncos' game in London on the schedule served as extra motivation for Waitman to fight for a spot on Denver's roster.
"It sort of hit me then, just looking at the schedule, if I can somehow, some way, make the team, I could play in front of my family, a lot of my friends,'' Waitman said. "And here it is."
Below the Fold
Fans have been calling the Madden ratings hotline to advocate for Pat Surtain II's score to be raised after his impressive play this season, and the game has officially raised the second-year cornerback's overall score, as well as individual scores in several categories.
"PS2 is going up plus-two this week in Madden 23 to [an] 89 overall [rating]," Madden ratings adjustor Donny Moore said. "That makes him a top-10 corner in the game. He's ninth, actually."