For the Denver Broncos, the 1982 NFL Draft was short on just about everything. Even the most diehard Broncos fan would have a hard time recognizing some of the names on the draft list. There were a couple running backs, however, that conjure up memories of Broncos glory past.
Gerald Wilhite, the Broncos 1st round selection, and Sammy Winder, the team's 5th round pick. Both had some positive moments, but it was Winder that enjoyed the better career.
Winder was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1984 and 1986), and was a key reason the Broncos appeared in three Super Bowls in the 1980s (falling to the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers).
In his nine seasons, Winder rushed for 5,427 yards and 39 touchdowns, while also catching 197 passes for 1,302 yards and 9 touchdowns.
He was known for a signature touchdown celebration he called the 'Mississippi Mud Walk'.
Winder now owns a construction business - Winder Construction - back home in Mississippi. A few years ago, the now defunct Rocky Mountain News included Winder in an article it did about past Broncos. Here is an excerpt from that piece -
For the last 15 years, the Pocahontas, Miss., native has driven a bulldozer as the sole employee of Winder Construction. The Broncos running back for nine seasons created the company in 1987.
With retirement a few years later, he knew it was time to go home. "It's hard, but the first thing you gotta do is let that life go," he said. "Football is great — while it lasts."
Winder, the son of a farmer, said he "had always been around dirt" and had worked outside. Clearing land for home building "is the only thing I know how to do," he said.
He admits he hasn't stayed in shape. "These days, I couldn't run across the street, unless there was a pork chop over there," said Winder, who went to the University of Southern Mississippi and rushed for 5,428 yards as a Bronco.
But he seems content with his life away from the sport.
"Once a year, I have a dream I'm suiting up again," he said. "I get the call from the Broncos, 'Sammy, we need you.' But let it stay a dream. I want nothing to touch me now that hurts worse than a mosquito."