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Courtland Sutton says contract talks are at a stalemate

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On reporting to minicamp: “I wanted to make sure it was known that, yeah, I was upset about how the contract went about … but I love ball.”

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Missing voluntary OTAs was a way for Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton to send the team a message he wanted his contract increased with greater security.

Going one step further — missing mandatory minicamp, and absorbing $101,716 in fines — would have really hammered home an ultimatum: Pay me or else.

But Sutton, like the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase, New England’s Matthew Judon and Tampa Bay’s Tristin Wirfs, ended his unofficial holdout Tuesday with the start of minicamp. Two other receivers — the Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb and the 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk — skipped the mandatory minicamp and will incur the six-figure fines.

Did Sutton think about missing this week’s practices, too?

“It was something that was conversed about,’’ Sutton said following the team’s 2-hour, 10-minute practice Tuesday. “My team and I had conversations about it. Missing OTAs wasn’t easy for me. I love ball. I love this game. I love the camaraderie it brings with my teammates.

“And so even if I was able to do rehab here and be around, for me to not be around it was definitely a tough couple months.

“It was definitely something that was considered. Obviously, I’m here. I wanted to make sure it was known that, yeah, I was upset about how the contract went about, how the conversation went about. How the stalemate has persisted. But I also wanted it to be known that I love ball.”

Sutton was out there at the Broncos’ practice fields for stretch and the first receiver drill, then trotted off to a side field where injured players rehab and condition. That’s the thing about Sutton’s absence from OTAs – even if he was present, he probably wouldn’t have practiced much because of the ankle surgery he had after the season. He suffered the injury in the second half of the Broncos’ final game against the Raiders on Jan. 8.

“I linked up with the training staff here,’’ said Sutton, who led the Broncos last year with 59 catches, 772 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. “They sent me down to Florida to be with a guy they were comfortable with and I was down there working with him, getting my ankle right.

“Coach (Payton) and I were on the same page of staying down there and continue to get my ankle to where I needed to get to so that ultimately be ready for the season.”

Skipping training camp, which begins in six weeks, is unlikely for Sutton as the fines escalate to at least $50,000 per day. That doesn’t mean contract talks are finished.

“We are at a stalemate in a sense but I have confidence and faith that the right thing will be done,” Sutton said.

Asked if he plans on helping bringing along rookie quarterback Bo Nix, Sutton said: “I hope that I am part of the bigger picture. I’ve been told that’s what the game plan is. I’ve also been told some other things, so. We’ll see what happens, I hope that I’m part of the game plan.”

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Courtland Sutton says contract talks are at a stalemate

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