Exclusive interview with Broncos' legend Karl Mecklenburg

Broncos' legend Karl Mecklenburg
Broncos' legend Karl Mecklenburg / Owen C. Shaw/GettyImages

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to chat via text with Broncos' Ring of Fame member, Karl Mecklenburg. He agreed to do an interview with me, telling me that he was very happy to do an interview for Predominantly Orange.

Despite being a 12th-round selection by the Denver Broncos, specifically the 310th pick from the 1983 NFL Draft, Karl was a very important player for the team, and he is considered a top-tier All-Time Broncos' player.

During his eleven-year NFL career, Mecklenburg had the following stats, honors, and records (regular season and playoffs) ...

  • 194 games (153 starts)
  • 1,127 tackles
  • 81 sacks
  • 16 forced fumbles
  • 14 fumble recoveries
  • 2 fumble-return touchdowns
  • 6 interceptions
  • 1 safety
  • 6x Pro Bowler
  • 3x First-Team All-Pro
  • 3 Super Bowl appearances
  • Denver Broncos Ring of Fame (inducted in 2001)
  • Colorado Sports Hall of Fame member
  • 8x Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist
  • 3rd-most sacks in Broncos History
  • Only Broncos player with multiple four-sack games
  • Broncos Alumni Council member

Interview with Denver Broncos legend Karl Mecklenburg

JA: How would you describe your time as a Denver Broncos player?

""My time with the Broncos was great! We had two losing seasons in 12 years and I developed a number of lifelong friendships along the way.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: What was going through your mind when the Denver Broncos drafted you?

""I got a phone call that woke me up at midnight. It was coach Reeves' secretary telling me the Broncos had drafted me in the 12th round and that they were going to mail me an airline ticket to Denver. I didn't know anything about the Broncos but was happy to get a chance to earn a roster spot.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: Are there any specific locker room/practice/game anecdotes or stories that you will never forget from your time as a Denver Broncos player?

""Some of my favorite times were listening to Tom Jackson or Barney Chavous talking about their experiences and teammates with the Broncos.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: You had 79 regular season sacks, plus two Playoff sacks ... for you, which one was the most important or the most memorable one?

""At one point I had the most sacks in Broncos history. I'm not sure where you're getting the playoff statistics but the Broncos never sent them in. I played in 14 playoff games and don't have the stats for them in my records. The sack I remember most was in the Super Bowl against Washington. I sacked Doug Williams and he fumbled. Rulon Jones scooped up the ball and was running for a touchdown when they called the play dead. The refs said there was an inadvertent whistle and gave the ball back to the Redskins. That play could have changed the whole direction of that game.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: You have the third-most sacks in franchise history, additionally, you are the only player ever to have multiple four-sack games in Broncos history, what does that mean to you after being a 12th-round Draft pick?

""I was blessed to be on some great defenses with great coaches, linebackers, defensive backs, and other pass rushers. My junior year at MN I led the Big Ten in sacks. My senior year we were behind all the time so no one passed the ball against us. If you aren't competitive no one passes the ball against you. If you don't have good coverage and the receivers are open the quarterback throws the ball before you get to him. If you don't have other great pass rushers on your team you get double-teamed on every play and can't get to the quarterback. If the scheme isn't right and you aren't prepared you can't be successful. I was in the right place, at the right time, and took advantage of it.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: What do you think about people and NFL Analysts having you as a top ten All-Time Broncos player?

""Trying to compare players in different systems, different eras, playing alongside different teammates is impossible. I'm flattered to be in the Ring of Fame and to be considered an all-timer.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: Not everyone has the chance to be a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro, you were a 6x Pro Bowler, and a 3x First-Team All-Pro. What does that mean to you, and how did you take advantage of it during your playing years?

""The Pro Bowl was a great opportunity to get to know players and coaches from other teams that you respect. My wife and I got to know Junior Seau and his family. Jackie Slater and his family. Howie Long and his family, etc. It was fun to spend that time in Hawaii together after the season was over.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: Which are your top three individual/collective performances during your career?

"" I would have to say the 3 AFC Championship wins.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: What went through your mind during your Denver Broncos Ring of Fame induction? How can you describe that moment after all your achievements as a player?

"" It was really special to be honored in that way by Pat Bowlen and the Broncos. Pat and I had a great relationship and he was a tremendous leader. The other thing that was special about that day is I got to share it with Dennis Smith who was inducted at the same time. Dennis and I are great friends and it seemed fitting to me to share the spotlight with him. Nobody is successful by themselves in life or in football.""

Karl Mecklenburg

JA: Earlier this year, the Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton to be the franchise's new head coach. What are your thoughts on the hire, and what are your expectations for the team in 2023?

"" I went to a minicamp practice yesterday and I was impressed by Coach Payton's approach. I'm not sure what the Broncos' record will be this year, but the players will know what to do and do it at full speed.""

Karl Mecklenburg

I am very grateful for this opportunity to interview an All-Time Broncos legend. I hope that you all enjoy it as well. I hope to get in touch with more players and do more articles of this type.

Thank you Karl for your time and appreciation to do this interview! Click here if you want to read more about Karl and his story!

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