To most NFL fans, the name 'Brandon Stokley' brings to mind his great play against the Bengals in the season opener of the 2009 football season. While that probably comes to all of our minds, I also think of his great personality, 3rd down slot clutch skills, and genuine niceness.
Since he has arrived in Denver, he has helped all of the young WR's, and even kept Brandon Marshall from getting in trouble multiple times. On November 6th 2008, the Broncos had just scored a touchdown against the Browns, taking back the lead in a close game; Marshall had a statement he wanted to make, but would have probably gone for a 15-yard exsessive penaltiy, Stokley rushed over and stopped it from happening. Who knows what else Stokley stopped Marshall from doing while he was in Denver that we might have not heard about.
Not only has he been a role model - and goody-too-shoes - he's been a leader, and mentor. Thirty-three year-old Stokley came to Denver via Free Agceny in 2007, a year before Eddie Royal. When the Broncos drafted Eddie in 2008, he was already a class act, but learning under Stokley had an effect on him. As a Rookie, Royal hauled in over 90 catches for just shy of 1,000 yards, while scoring 5 touchdowns. Going as far as to say Stokley helped Royal improve his game might be stretching it, but he was a good role model. Eddie Royal has quickly become a fan favorite, he is great to fans, and has very good character.
Stokley has also already had an effect on Broncos' Rookie WR Eric Decker. In an interview for my blog, Decker had this to say of Stokley, "On my visit in Denver, I was introduced to a handful of players. Brandon Stokley, is a player (teammate now) I am most familiar with. I was introduced to him after I suffered my injury this past fall and gained a tremendous amount of respect for him. A great player but a better person!"
He went on to say he thinks very highly of him. I'm really excited to see Stokley taking young guys under his wings, and teach them good character, as well as physical skills.
Brandon Stokley's best statistical season was in 2004, when he surpassed 1,000 yards and scored 10 Touchdowns. He started his career with the Ravens, and went on to win a Super Bowl with them, before joining the Colts and winning another shorty thereafter. Last season Stokley led the Broncos in yards per catch, with a 17.2 yard-per catch average. This season he'll have the same role as last, the 3rd down slot guy.
In 11 years in the League, Stokley has had a positive effect on everyone he's worked with. He is headed toward the end of his career now, and a few years down the road, many will not remember him, but I'm sure all the Wide Recievers that have had the privilege of playing with him will remember.