Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt tore his left ACL during a walkthrough practice Thursday and is headed for injured reserve for the second straight season.
Butt spent his rookie season last year on IR while recovering from the same injury to his other knee.
"Jake has worked his tail off to recover from his previous injuries, and we feel terrible for him," coach Vance Joseph said in a statement after an MRI confirmed the team's fears .
"He's a great kid who's developed into a very good football player. We have no doubt Jake will come back stronger than ever," Joseph added.
So, the Broncos (2-1), who host Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) Monday night, find themselves waiting for Butt to get healthy once again.
Butt had eight catches for 85 yards this season in his comeback from his last knee injury. He also tore his right ACL in spring drills as a sophomore at Michigan.
That medical history helped drive his draft stock down last year, making him the forgotten member of 2017's deep tight end class even though he won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end his senior season.
Many teams considered Butt as talented as first-round selections O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and David Njoku, but he slipped to the fifth round after tearing his right ACL in Michigan's 33-32 loss to Florida State in the 2017 Orange Bowl. He was the eighth tight end drafted last year.
Butt had a solid offseason and took most of the first-team snaps while Jeff Heuerman missed two weeks of training camp with a sore knee.
Butt's injury leaves the Broncos with two fourth-year tight ends in Heuerman and Matt LaCosse, plus Brian Parker on their practice squad.