With the dog days of summer upon us, Broncos Country anxiously awaits the start of training camp. While there are plenty of topics to discuss regarding the 2023 Broncos, I thought this summer lull would allow us to reflect on the Broncos of the past. For the first time, many of these unheralded players will have a light shone on them and their contributions to the Denver Broncos. These players were been drafted or signed by the team as college-free agents and used their time in the Mile High City to blossom into the players that they became. For that reason, they were "Born Broncos".
In this first edition of "Born Broncos," we take a look at RB/FB Cecil Sapp. Sapp was the Broncos' reserve Running back/Fullback from 2003-2007, paving the way for several thousand-yard rushers. Where did Sapp get his start on the gridiron, and what made him a memorable Bronco? Let's take a look.
Career Stats for Denver Broncos FB Cecil Sapp
Years Played: 2003-2008
Teams played for: Denver Broncos, Houston Texans
322 Yards from Scrimmage, 3 TD's (2 rushing, 1 receiving)
Cecil "The Diesel" Sapp was born December 23rd, 1978, in Miami, FL. After a standout career at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Sapp migrated west to Colorado State University for his collegiate career. A decorated player at CSU, Sapp broke several school records, including rushing yards in a single season (1,602) and longest run (89 yards). His tenure at CSU resulted in three conference championships, two All-Conference accolades, and the MVP of the 2002 Liberty Bowl. He has since been inducted into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Despite his sterling college career, Sapp was overlooked by many scouts and went Undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft. While Draft weekend served as a setback in Sapp's career, the watchful eye of Mike Shanahan was quick to change the back's fortunes. Signed as a UDFA following the 2003 NFL Draft, Sapp spent the bulk of the next two seasons bouncing between the active roster and the practice squad.
Undeterred, Sapp finally earned a full-time role with the team during the 2005 season, becoming a reserve RB/FB and Special Teams Ace. On special teams, he was responsible for forcing one fumble during the regular season and recovered a key fumble against the Patriots in the playoffs to set up a Jason Elam Field Goal. Sapp also lent his talents in the return game, occasionally serving as a kick returner. Between he and Kyle Johnson, Sapp would spend the next few seasons serving as the Fullback for the Broncos.
After the 2007 Season, Sapp was reunited with former Broncos OC Gary Kubiak as he signed as a Free Agent with the Houston Texans. In his lone season in the lone star state, had two rushing attempts at RB and was on the Special Teams units. After his season in Houston was over, Sapp still had a hankering to play football. It was the New York Sentinels from the upstart UFL (United Football League) that gave him his final landing spot in pro football.
After completing the 2009 season, Sapp walked away from the game. Cecil Sapp was a key special teams player and blocker in his pro career who paved the way for rushers like Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Reuben Droughns, Steve Slaton, and Clinton Portis.
Despite not suiting up for the Orange and Blue since 2007, Sapp was a part of some successful Broncos teams and was a key cog in the team's dominant running game. To that point, the 2005 unit produced the 2nd best output in team history for team yardage (2,539) and Touchdowns (25). While players like Tatum Bell, Mike Anderson, and Ron Dayne (I had to throw him in there) took the spotlight for that running attack, Sapp's efforts were essential to the group's performance.
Broncos Country, let's take a moment and give a Mile High Salute to Cecil Sapp and all of his contributions to the team. Thanks for everything, Cecil.