Julius Thomas Unearths Broncos Country’s Dark Side


By nature Broncos Country is a bunch who forgives.

We do so for just about anything and everything. The whole “time heals all wounds” line. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as its owned up to.

From players who left the Denver Broncos to coaches who had their stays end on a sour note, when you’re a member of Broncos Country that doesn’t go away or stop. As we’ve seen with the new coaching staff, you always find a way back home. We saw that again last season when Dan Reeves finally got his rightful spot on the Broncos of Ring of Fame.

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There is a sure-fire way to ensure those good graces vanish quicker than granola at a hippy convention: say it’s all about the money. When that puts an exclamation point on the suspicions we have had for some time… Game. Set. Match.

Broncos Country isn’t just a phrase or place, it’s a way of life. From Gene Mingo and Floyd Little to John Elway and Terrell Davis, it’s not just about you. The Broncos and Broncos Country is bigger than you and your aspirations of getting paid so you can get out.

Shoot for the moon and all that’s underneath it. Expect to get paid for what you do. Pat Bowlen has proven over the course of his ownership that if you put in the time and effort, shine on the field and represent his organization with class and respect, he will reward you and in a huge way.

When that offer is spit on because you think you deserve better? When it comes out that you play the game not because you have to but you can? That it’s entirely about business? That you don’t love football?

Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) is tackled after a reception by Indianapolis Colts free safety LaRon Landry (30) and inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) during the third quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If that’s how you truly feel and think, why would you allow your teammates, coaches, front office personnel and owner to have that perception of you? Why would you allow the other 31 teams in the NFL to have that image of you when you want to get paid? If that’s what you care about that’s a terrible business decision. Nothing screams “DO NOT SIGN ME” more than that.

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Broncos Country was willing to forgive you for stupid mistake after stupid mistake after stupid mistake. We were willing to look past your complete inability and lack of desire to block. We were willing to look past your lack of effort. We were willing to look past the fact you nursed your ankle sprain for all it was worth. We were willing to defend you when Bruce Arians said what you did was the dirtiest play he’s seen in football.

That was before. Now it all makes sense. When your quarterback laid into you in the second game of the season, we should have known. When Arians said what he did, we should have known. You don’t care. You don’t care about anyone but yourself. All you care about is your pay day and how much jack you can steal, err, get from an organization.

What makes this even worse is you wore the No. 80. The best undrafted free agent in the history of the NFL wore that number. A guy who never stopped working because he was afraid he would get cut – even when he became the standard for the position.

He wanted to play even if he wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent … or 90 … or 75. That’s because he took pride in what he did on the field – that included blocking. That’s because he played for his teammates. That’s because he knew it was bigger than just him, it was for the guys who came before him. That’s because he played for Mr. Bowlen, who made his dreams possible.

More than all of that, it’s because he was grateful. He never took for granted one second he got on the football field. He was never cavalier with his opponents or, worse, his teammates. He had pride and respect for the game and himself. For his teammates. For his coaches. For his bosses. For his owner who made it possible.

There are somethings Broncos Country deems unforgivable, and this is one of them.

Hope your huge pay day is worth it.

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Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) before the start of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports