Ex-Bills WR/KR Waived By Broncos After Making Unlikely NFL Comeback

A former Buffalo Bills wide receiver and kick returner whose breakout season in the USFL revived his career will have to find another route for his NFL comeback.

The Denver Broncos waived Victor Bolden, a speedster who last played in the NFL with the Bills during Josh Allen’s rookie season. The former Oregon State standout was drafted into the USFL in its inaugural season and led the Birmingham Stallions to a league title, earning MVP honors for the championship game.

Broncos waive Freddie Swain, Victor Bolden. https://t.co/gPEP7FF1bo

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 14, 2023

Bolden returned to the NFL after the strong season, spending time on the practice squads of the Arizona Cardinals and Broncos before being released on March 14.

Victor Bolden’s Standout USFL Season Brought Him Back to NFL

Though he failed to take hold in the NFL, Bolden took advantage of his opportunity in the USFL to show that he still had talent left. He led the Stallions to a 9-1 record and finished second in the league with 41 receptions, racking up 397 yards and a touchdown.

Bolden was also one of the league’s top kick return specialists, adding 618 kick return yards and 176 punt return yards for a league-best 1,209 all-purpose yards over the 10-game season. Bolden was named to the All-USFL team offense for his efforts.

The inaugural All-USFL Team offense 🔥

Which of these players was your favorite to watch this season? pic.twitter.com/z0pmL3qYTN

— USFL (@USFL) June 16, 2022

He continued to shine in the playoffs, capping it off six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown in the championship game.

Bolden signed with the Cardinals practice squad in July, but was placed on the injured list in September and released a week later. He then joined Denver’s practice squad in November and earned a reserve/futures contract in January to stay with the team through the offseason, but was waived on Tuesday.

Bolden had played two seasons in the NFL, joining the Bills at the conclusion of the 2018 season. He appeared in two games, returning five kicks for a 23.2-yard average during that time.

Bolden’s career hit a major snag in 2018, when he was suspended four games after a performance-enhancing drug violation. Bolden said afterward that he did not realize he was taking a banned substance, but took responsibility for the error.

“As a professional athlete, I take full responsibility for not verifying the ingredients of the supplement,” Bolden said. “In the future, I will be much better educated when choosing what to put in my body. It hurts to know that I will not be on the field with my team for the first four games of the season.”

Though Bolden would have stints on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad over the following three seasons, he did not appear in another NFL game after 2018.

Victor Bolden Could Have More Options

While his release from the Broncos may have been a career setback, Bolden will likely still have options to continue his football career. He was named as a top candidate to return to the NFL by Pro Football Network, and would likely have a strong chance to earn another ticket to training camp.

Bolden could also return to the USFL this summer. Fox Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks confirmed in an interview with the Sports Business Journal that the league is returning for a second season, and also expanding.

“We have a multi-year plan to build this football business,” Shanks said. “If anything, the success of season one makes me even more excited than we were before going into Season 2 and beyond.”

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