On their final day of practice at Dove Valley before heading to Oakland for the season opener on Monday Night Football, the Broncos selected their team captains for 2008.
Champ Bailey and Jay Cutler will again don the big “C” patch on their jerseys, but they will be joined by three more of their teammates as well. Daniel Graham and D.J. Williams will also be captains for the offense and defense, respectively, and Mike Leach will represent the special teams.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan said that the special teams captain will vary from week-to-week.
Though only his third year in the league, this is the second year in a row that Cutler has been elected captain by his teammates. During this afternoon’s press conference, Shanahan said that his quarterback’s youth does not even come into play.
“Well as a quarterback in that third year, you’re not too young anymore, especially when you’re the starter,” Shanahan said. “It just shows the amount of respect the rest of the team has for him.”
Captains are elected solely by the players, and during the open locker room period, Graham, Leach and Williams each spoke about what it means to have their teammates show faith in them.
“When your teammates elect you a captain, it must mean that they respect you and think highly of you,” Graham told reporters. “It’s an honor of me, and I’m happy to be a captain on this team.”
Though this is the first time Williams will wear the “C” patch, he has always been in a position of leadership.
“Especially last year playing the mike linebacker,” Williams said. “That’s kind of like the quarterback on defense.”
Now, his teammates have made it official.
“This year, I was voted team captain so I’m just going to lead to the best of my ability,” said the fifth year linebacker. “It’s definitely a great honor. I’m privileged that my teammates chose me to go out there and lead for the defense.”
And though the special teams captain will change each week, Leach is every bit as appreciative as his fellow captains.
“Well you always want to have the respect of your teammates,” Leach said. “When it comes from them, it means a lot.”
This marks just the second year that the NFL has recognized captains in this manner.
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com