Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: #30

Ten players have wore the #30 jersey in Denver Broncos history and nine of them don't stand a chance for the honors here. Still, it's only fair to walk through the pieces of the past. So we will look at the nine Running Backs and current Safety that the #30 jersey has been a part of. Here they are:

David Bruton S 2009-Present
Cory Boyd RB 2008
Mike Bell RB 2007
Terrell Davis RB 1995-2002
Steve Sewell RB 1985-92
Jim Jensen RB 1977, ‘79-80
Oliver Ross RB 1973-75
Cookie Gilchrist RB 1967
Hewritt Dixon FB 1963-65
Clarence Walker HB 1963


Clarence Walker played in 1 game with the Broncos in 1963 and had 2 carries for 14 yards.

Hewritt Dixon was drafted by the Broncos in the 8th round (60th overall) of the 1963 AFL Draft. He played for 3 years with Denver appearing in 30 games. Dixon ran for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on 42 carries. He added 73 catches for 1,069 yards and 3 touchdowns. As a returner, Hewritt ran 3 punts back for a 19.3 average. He returned 16 Kickoffs for a 18.3 average. Dixon had better success with the division rival Oakland Raiders where he was a 4-time Pro Bowler & 1-time First-Team All-Pro (1966-68, 1970).

Cookie Gilchrist is one of the few professional football players who did not play college football. A four-time Pro Bowler & 3-time First-Team All-Pro, the "Cookie Monster" was the first AFL player to gain over 1,000 yards in a season (14 games, 1,096 yards in 1962). He was also the previous owner of the American  professional football record for most yards rushing in a game (243 yards vs. the New York Jets, on December 8, 1963). His story is also remarkable because he  was an All-Star in the CFL (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960), the AFL (1962, 1963, 1964, 1965) and an MVP in the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU).

Other accolades

  • 1962 AP, UPI AFL MVP
  • AFL Champion, 1964
  • All-Time All-AFL Fullback
  • Record - Most rushing touchdowns,season, 13 (1962)
Gilchrist played for the Denver Broncos in 1965 and 1967, and for the Miami Dolphins in 1966. As a Bronco, Cookie wore #2 in 1965. He went to the AFL All-Star game and was awarded 1st-Team All-Pro honors for leading the League in carries (252), touchdowns (6) and touches (270). When he returned to the Broncos in 1967, Gilchrist donned #30. However, he only played in one game that year, with 10 carries for 21 yards and one catch for (-4) yards.

Oliver Ross was drafted by the Broncos in the 16th round (398th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft. He played 3 seasons in Denver as a backup Running Back and Kick Returner. Ross appeared in 23 games gaining 150 yards on 50 carries and added 8 catches for 82 yards. Oliver also returned 8 Kickoffs for a 17/1 average. He played one more year in his career in Seattle, where was the starting Kick Returner for the Seahawks.

Jim Jensen was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2nd round (40th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. He was used by Dallas as a return man. In 1977, Jensen was traded to the Denver Broncos in 1977, when the Cowboys drafted Tony Dorsett. Little did he know he would play in Super Bowl XII that year against his former teammates. Jim plated 3 seasons with Denver, starting 20 of 41 games. He rushed for 1,019 yards and 4 touchdowns on 247 carries, adding 72 catches for 584 yards and 2 more touchdowns. Jim was 6' 4", 230 lbs. and ran a 4.4 40 yard dash in college. He was a versatile running back and led the Broncos in rushing and number of receptions in 1980. In 1981 he signed with the Green Bay Packers and played there for two seasons. 

Steve Sewell was drafted by the Broncos in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft. He played his entire 7-year career in Denver, starting 12 of 94 games as the Broncos 3rd down specialist/utility man. steve ran for 917 yards and 13 touchdowns on 229 carries. He also had 187 receptions for 2354 yards and 13 touchdowns. Head Coach Dan Reeves like to use Sewell on many of his trick plays like the Halfback option pass. Steve wasn't that successful, but he did throw a 23-yard touchdown pass to John Elway in a Week 1 victory over the Oakland Raiders in 1986. They saved that play for a better day. Steve threw that same  23-yard pass to Elway in Super Bowl XXII in 1988. Sewell appeared in 3 Super Bowls for the Broncos. He now coaches the running-backs for the CSU - Pueblo Thunderwolves in Colorado.

Mike Bell was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006 by the Denver Broncos. After a  strong training camp, Bell got the starting nod at tailback over Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne. Tatum was the Bell who ended up starting the first regular season game and Mike was used in a backup role. He had mixed results when he got his opportunities. He was put in against Indianapolis in Week 8 and ran off 135 yards and two touchdowns in just one half, filling in for an injured Tatum. He started the following week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but only gained 28 yards on 17 attempts. That result put him on the Inactive List in Week 10 against the Raiders. Still, Mike led the Broncos with eight rushing scores. He was released by the Broncos on July 21, 2008 having played in 20 games with 3 starts and 680 rushing yards. Bell won a Super Bowl Ring with the New Orleans Saints after the 2009 season and currently plays for the Cleveland Browns.

Cory Boyd was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 7th round (238th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. He was signed to the practice squad of the Denver Broncos on November 4, 2008 after running back P. J. Pope was promoted to the active roster. Boyd was then promoted to the active roster on December 9 when fullback Peyton Hillis was placed on the Injured Reserve List. The Broncos waived him six days later and re-signed him to the practice squad. He was then put back onto the active roster for Week 17 of the 2008 season following the season ending injuries to Selvin Young and P.J. Pope. Cory was put on waivers on March 31, 2009. He now plays for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and has seen some success there.


David Bruton was drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round (114th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He made his 1st career start on December 20, 2009 against the Oakland Raiders where he recorded 4 tackles and finished his rookie 2009 season with 14 total tackles, with 9 coming on Special Teams. Last season, David started 2 games, recording 16 Tackles, one pass defensed and he recovered 2 Fumbles. Bruton deflected a punt in the 4th quarter against the St. Louis Rams. Bruton responded well in his two starts, with seven tackles (6 solo) in each game (Week 13 & 14). David has made an impact on Special Teams while he bides his time ascending to a full-time starter, as the Personal Protector and quarterback on the punt coverage unit.


This is a very good group of players and many of them would take the honors if they played in another jersey. However, it should be unanimous that this accolade should go to someone who was a major contributor in bringing two Lombardi trophies to Denver. So without further ado.

The Greatest Bronco to wear #30 is...


RB  Terrell Davis

 

 

Terrell Davis was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 6th round (196th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. He entered training camp as the 6th string tailback and was a long shot to even make the team. Terrell was able to impress the Broncos coaching staff after his 2nd pre-season game with an impressive hit on special teams. Davis improved with each pre-season game and by the time the season began, he was promoted to starting Running Back. T.D. gave the Broncos something they had lacked to balance John Elway--a good running game. Davis started 14 games during the 1995 season, with 1,117 yards and 8 touchdowns on 237 carries, averaging 4.7 yards. He became the lowest drafted player to ever gain over 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season. 

1996 brought Terrell a new 5-year deal with the Broncos worth $6.8 million. He responded by rushing for 1,538 yards and setting a Broncos record for rushing touchdowns with 13. Denver finished the season 13–3, tied with the Green Bay Packers for the best record in the NFL.

 

The Broncos went 12-4 in 1997, making it all the way through the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXII, Terrell rushed for 157 yards, caught two passes for 8 yards, and became the first player in Super Bowl history ever to score 3 rushing touchdowns. He was named  Super Bowl MVP despite sitting out part of the game because of a migraine headache.

If Super Bowl XXXII was for John, 1998 was Terrell's year. He rushed for 2,008 yards, the 3rd highest total in NFL history. This time he earned league MVP honors, his 3rd straight AFC rushing title, his 1st NFL rushing title, and his 2nd time being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. The Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, and Davis had 102 yards rushing and 50 receiving yards.

That was the last postseason game Davis would play. In his 8 postseason games, his production was unmatched: 204 carries for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 19 receptions for 131 yards. This included a streak of 7 consecutive games with over 100 rushing yards, all of which the Broncos won. 

After 1998, Davis was pestered by injuries and saw limited action. In 1999, he tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee while trying to make a tackle on an interception in Week 4. that took him out for the rest of the year.

In 2000, Davis was lost for 11 games because of a stress reaction injury in his lower leg. In 2001, he only played in 8 games because of arthroscopic surgery on both knees.

T.D.'s Swansong came during the 2002 preseason. He walked through the tunnel in uniform for the last time during a preseason game with the San Francisco 49ers at Mile High. He gave his trademark "Mile High Salute" to a standing ovation and was hugged by his teammates. 

The Team honored him as the lone Broncos player at the coin toss, after which, Davis retreated to the sideline. He spent the 2nd half in street clothes and the following week, he was placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season and career.

In his first 4 years, Davis rushed for 6,413 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 56 touchdowns. Among the 24 modern-era Hall of Fame halfbacks and fullbacks, only Earl Campbell (6,457, 4.6 yards per carry) and Eric Dickerson (6,968, 4.8 yards per carry) had more rushing yards during their first 4 seasons; no member of the Hall of Fame matched Davis’ 1st-four-season 56 rushing touchdowns. Davis was selected for ESPN's All-Time 40-Man Super Bowl roster as a running back for his performances in Super Bowls XXXII & XXXIII.

Overall, T.D. finished his 7 NFL seasons with 7,607 rushing yards, 169 receptions for 1,280 yards, and 65 touchdowns (60 rushing and 5 receiving). He and John Elway are the only two Broncos named league MVP.

His Accolades include:

Broncos Records

 

Most Total Yards from Scrimmage (Rushing and Receiving)

 

Career 2nd (8,887)

Season (2,225)

 

Most Attempts

 

Career (1,655)
Season (392)
Game (42)

 

Most Rushing Yards

 

Career (7,607)
Season (2,008)
Game 4th (215)

 

Most Rushing Touchdowns

 

Career (60)
season (21)


NFL

  • 1998 NFL 2008 rushing yards is 4th highest All-Time
  • 1998 NFL 23 TD's 8th All-Time 
  • 1998 NFL 21 Rushing TD's 6th All-Time 
  • 1998 NFL 5.1 rushing average 1st All-Time
  • 1996 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year 
  • 1997 NFL Super Bowl MVP 
  • 1998 NFL AP MVP 
  • 1998 NFL PFWA MVP 
  • 1998 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • Pro Bowl (1996, 1997, 1998)
  • 1st-Team All-Pro (1996, 1997, 1998)
  • Inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame on September 23, 2007 
  • Hall of Fame semi-finalist in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010


Why Terrell Davis is not in the NFL Hall of Fame is beyond me, but nevertheless...

MHR proudly hails Terrell Davis with a Mile High Salute.

 

Go Broncos!


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