OTAs are underway in Denver, and it’s definitely different to be in a new place after all these years. I am embracing it and enjoying it.
I feel much better going into this season than I did last season. My strength, speed and quickness are all much, much further along this June than they were a year ago.
I spent a lot of time this offseason working with Alphonso Hodge at the Do Work Factory in Kansas City. He did a great job. I had fun working with him. We have been friends and have worked together for a long time, and all the people there at Do Work helped me get right physically, mentally and spiritually. I was working hard with Zo trying to get back to my full ability: Running, cutting, squatting, lateral work, footwork. Obviously I do a lot of leg stuff, and I’m feeling close to my full ability again. Can’t wait to show that to everyone on the field this season.
Until then, I have to compete mentally and continue to prepare.
Specifically, I go through the plays and try to get ready. I’m learning a new playbook, but doing that is not really a new thing to me. During my time with the Chiefs, we had five different offensive coordinators, which means five different playbooks. So I’m used to it.
The coaching staff here is excellent. The running back coach, Eric Studesville, has been really great to me, helping me understand the vocabulary and the calls.
The whole Broncos organization welcomed me with open arms. I’m happy that they’re doing all they can to help put me in the best position for success. I’m trying to take advantage of it. We’ve got a couple more weeks in the offseason training program, then I will go back home and continue my preparation for the season. I am already excited thinking about when we will come back for training camp. That will mean it’s that much closer to the season!
TRADITIONS AND LEGACIES
I’m truly happy to be a part of the Broncos organization.
Before I got to the NFL, I really liked the Broncos growing up, as a fan. Specifically, I’ve been big fan of John Elway since high school. I loved the way he played the game. He was a great player, one of the best of all time at the quarterback position, or really at any position. I remember so well watching when they won the Super Bowl two years in a row at the end of his career. I’m with the Broncos now hoping to do the same type of thing.
It does seem a little crazy to have him, a guy who I grew up watching and rooting for, signing me to play here in Denver. It’s a blessing for me. I’m really just thrilled about getting the opportunity to come here and to show people what I have left and help this team. No doubt the fact that it was John Elway making the decision made it even more special.
There’s a great tradition and legacy of success here in Denver, both with John and at the running back position. Specifically with another Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis. My hope is I can come here, do my job, contribute to wins, and add to the legacy. I’m really simply so happy to be out here, healthy, and be a Denver Bronco.
Since Chris Harris has No. 25 here already, I’m going to be wearing a new number this season, No. 28.
I did not really have a reason for picking that honestly. But hopefully it’s something I can make a new legacy with, both for the team and for myself. I don’t feel like a number makes a player; the player makes the number. Adrian Peterson and Marshall Faulk are two guys who immediately come to mind when you think of No. 28. So I want to go out there, play my game, and maybe also be thought of for wearing 28 along with those two great players.
Of course, I’m pretty sure I’ll always have some love for 25 too! I did have a lot of fun wearing that number for a lot of years and was fortunate to do some pretty special stuff in it.
There are a lot of questions out there about what I can still do, people saying I can’t play well anymore. They’ve judged me already. But I know what I can do and what I will do. I don’t want to speak about it. I want to show people. Then once I do, people can judge me how they like once again.
It has been a crazy offseason in a lot of ways. My wife gave birth to our first son back in March. It’s been really special. I’m so crazy happy to have a son, and I already have a special relationship with him. When I’m with my son, I just can’t keep my eyes off him. He looks just like me, which is wild. I talk to him. I play with him. I don’t let nobody mess with him when I’m holding him!
I’ve been missing him so much since I got to Denver, and every time my wife calls me, I’ve been telling her, “Where’s my son at!” “Let me talk to him!”
My daughters are adjusting well to having a baby brother. They’re excited to tell people about him. They go around asking, “Do you want to see him?” They tell their friends about him and ask my wife, “Can we bring him to school, Mama, so we can show our classroom?” They want to hold him all the time. They want to change him. They want to bathe him. They want to feed him. So I let them, and then I really put them to work when they want to help, but they love it, I love it, and my son loves it! It is so special for all of us.
So that’s been a big change for everybody. The change in teams was big, too. The girls were definitely sad when they found out we were moving to Denver and leaving Kansas City. My wife understands the business of the NFL, but the girls don’t really get it the same way. They started crying. They didn’t want to leave, and they didn’t want me to leave. So explaining it to them was kind of hard. We let them stay in Kansas City to finish out the school year, they love their school there and it’s a great one, and they’re joining me in Denver now.
I’ve been spending most of my downtime here trying to find us a place to live. So my wife has been doing a great job taking care of the family while I’m away, holding it down. She’s doing great after the pregnancy, and excited about this new chapter in our lives as well.
FAREWELL, KANSAS CITY
Because of the timing of when the Chiefs released me, I never really got a chance to say goodbye to Kansas City, the organization, my teammates and most importantly, the fans.
I spent some of the best years of my life in Kansas City. In a way, I grew up there.
Before Coach Reid and his staff came in and really took over the franchise, I felt a lot of responsibility for bringing about a different culture than had been there before me. I wanted to spark the players around me and help mold them, to bring about a new era of Chiefs football. I tried to set an example with my hard work, hopefully I did that and it was a factor in the team’s recent success and is a bit of my legacy there now since I am gone.
I sure think it made a difference, and we went on to have success as a result. The only major thing we didn’t accomplish in KC is winning the Super Bowl. But I feel like I accomplished pretty much everything else that I set out to do.
The staff was always so great to me in Kansas City. I had a great relationship with the coaches—especially my position coach Eric Bieniemy—the strength coaches and the trainers. David Glover has been there since I first started, and helped me a lot over my career as a Chief.
Overall, the whole organization supported me, and there are a lot of people there that I will always remember, and miss a lot.
I’ll definitely miss my teammates of course, the guys that I bonded with for the nine years I was there and the guys who were there before me—Tamba, Dustin, DJ—they took me in with open arms, and really set me on the right path from the first time I met them as a rookie. I remember I sat next to Tamba in the back of the plane on trips my rookie year and he helped me learn how to be a pro football player.
Then the guys that came after me: EB, Justin Houston, Ron Parker, Marcus Peters, and more recently Charcandrick, Spence and Sherm and so many others. It was great bonding with those guys. We built friendships and formed a brotherhood, and I know those relationships are not going to end.
I heard from a lot of those guys when I signed with the Broncos, and they just told me congrats. They said they’re happy, and I would be happy for them as well if things were reversed. I think they’re excited for me, and I’m always going to be excited for them. It will be pretty wild playing them!
I made some great relationships in the Kansas City community as well. I bonded with people I met from restaurants and stores, going out into the city and embracing being a part of the community. Having my kids go to school there, and meeting their classmates and their friends’ parents, and their teachers. I really lived there almost year round for the majority of my 9 years with the team, it was certainly home and I met a lot of people there who had an impact on my life.
Of course, having those Chiefs fans behind me, supporting me, meant everything to me. We broke records together. Being there when they set the noise record on Monday night against the Patriots, that’s what it’s about! It’s not ultimately about me individually or about statistics. It’s about the memories we made there that I’ll always cherish. The team and the fans. You don’t forget those moments. I’ll have them with me forever.
After the Chiefs let me go, I’m not going to lie, it was hard. I’ve never been through something quite like that before, and it is kind of crazy how things work in the NFL.
The Broncos were right at the top of my list from the get go of being a free agent, and it took a little bit of time, but eventually they presented an opportunity for me and I decided to take full advantage of it and join the team. I do believe the way everything has played out has happened this way for a reason.
The only thing I haven’t accomplished on the football field that is exceptionally important to me is winning a Super Bowl. The goal is to do that here in the next chapter of my life. That’s why I still, after all these years, want to play football so badly and will give it everything I got, my heart and soul poured into it. Also, knowing that a lot of people, and I’m sure some other teams maybe are counting me out or think I can’t be the player I was anymore, well, that really drives me too.
There’s definitely a fire in me. I have something to prove. I go into every year with that mindset, but I definitely feel like that element is even bigger this year, and I like it.
This organization is fantastic. I haven’t been here long, but you can see why they’re a championship franchise, why they’re going to the playoffs pretty much every year. They prepare their players and take care of their players.
I’m excited to be a Bronco! I’m going to give my all and then some, leave it absolutely all on the field.