Eleven players wore #48 in the history of the Denver Broncos. Three Safeties, three Defensive Backs, a Cornerback, Running Back, Linebacker, Defensive End and a Long Snapper. The competition for the accolades is a little better for this number. Here, take a look for yourselves.
George Coghill S 1998-2001
Lionel Washington CB 1995-96
Randy Robbins DB 1984-91
Earlie Thomas DB 1975
John Pitts S 1973-75
Dale Hackbart S 1973
Herman Lewis DE 1968
Alex Moore RB 1968
Nemiah Wilson CB 1965-67
Nemiah Wilson played 3 seasons as the Broncos starting Right Cornerback from 1965-67. He played 42 games, with 8 interceptions, returning 3 for touchdowns. Wilson caused 5 fumbles and recovered 2. He was also used as a return man, running 14 kickoffs back 415 yards and 1 touchdown, a 29.56 average. Nemiah returned 3 punts 10 yards. Wilson has the distinction of being the oldest AFL All-Star in 1967.
Alex Moore was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 14th round (369th overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft, but never played for them. He played three games for the Broncos in 1968, rushing for 22 yards on 4 carries and catching 3 passes for 35 yards.
Herman Lewis was on the Broncos Roster as a Defensive End in 1968, but did not record any stats.
Dale Hackbart was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round (51st overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. He made stops in Washington, Minnesota and St. Louis before joining Denver in his 12th and final season. Hackbart started 2 of 3 games in 1973 and did not have any recorded stats. (Remember, Tackles and Pass Deflections weren't recorded for a few more years).
John Pitts was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 1st round (22nd overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He played 6 years with Buffalo before coming to Denver in the middle of 1973. He then played through Week 1 of the 1975 season with the Broncos, starting 4 of 22 games and making one interception.
Earlie Thomas was drafted by the New York Jets in the 11th round (280th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He played in New York for 5 years before joining the Broncos for the 1975 season. He started 6 of 10 games at Right Cornerback, intercepting 2 passes and recovering a fumble.
Braxton Kelley is a 2nd-year Linebacker from the University of Kentucky who joined the Broncos as a college Free Agent on April 28, 2009, and spent his rookie season on Denver’s practice squad. The Broncos placed him on Injured Reserve on June 14,2010. The injury wasn't revealed, but he has recovered since. He has used that time to bulk up to 242 lbs. from the 226 that he arrived in Denver with in 2009.
Mike Leach was the Long Snapper for the Broncos from 2002-2008. However, he wore #48 for his first year only in Denver (he wore #83 the other years). That year he played in 8 games. Most folks will remember him being cast aside by Josh McDaniels, only to be replaces by McD's crony Lonie Paxton. Leach caught on with the Arizona Cardinals and has not flubbed a snap. Mike is set to make $975,000 in 2011 (if there is football) and will be a Free Agent in 2012. Maybe he would consider a return to the Mile High City.
Randy Robbins was drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round (89th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. He played in Denver for nine seasons (1984-1992), starting 26 of 116 games at Cornerback and Safety. Randy had 8 Sacks, 11 interceptions, including 2 pick-sixes and 9 Fumble Recoveries. In Week 8 in Kansas City, Robbins blocked 2 Jim Arnold punts. The Broncos turned them into points in a 30-10 victory.
Lionel Washington was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 4th round (103rd overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He played 4 years in St. Louis and 8 years with the Raiders before joining the Broncos for the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Lionel started 28 of 30 games at Right Cornerback. He made 102 total Tackles, 2 interceptions, 23 Pass Deflections and one Fumble Recovery. He returned to Oakland for one final year in 1997 when the Broncos drafted Darrien Gordon.
Randy and Lionel earn honorable mention nods, but the Greatest Bronco to wear #48 is...
George Coghill went undrafted in 1993. He signed with the New Orleans Saints as a Free Agent, but while playing in the American Bowl in Tokyo against the Eagles, he tore a ligament in his knee and his rookie year was over. When he recovered, George was assigned to the Scottish Claymores of the World Football League, where he became possibly the greatest football player in the short history of that franchise. Coghill is a member of the Claymores Hall of Fame and is the career leading tackler (123) and interception leader(6). He won a championship Ring in World Bowl 96 and was named All-World in both 1996 and 1997 for his stellar defensive play.
After the 1997 NFL Europe season, George was signed by the Denver Broncos, joining them in time for the onset of Training Camp. However he found himself listed as the 9th safety on their depth charts. But after a good camp and preseason, he was signed to the Practice Squad where he remained all year - collecting a Super Bowl ring along the way. Coghill played in 9 regular season games down the stretch of the 1998 season. He recorded 7 tackles and his 1st NFL interception. He even started returning punts again (3 for 20) as back up to Darrien Gordon. He saved his best for the Super Bowl though, making the opening tackle on the kick-off and sealing the win by stripping the ball from Jamal Anderson. This time he earned his Super Bowl ring.
All total, George played 4 seasons as a Bronco, starting 5 of 54 games. He recorded 40 total Tackles, 3 interceptions, one Pass Deflection and one Forced Fumble. He also returned 6 punts for a 7.5 average. He owns 2 Denver Broncos Super Bowl Rings and a World Bowl ring. Not many can say that.
Coghill is the head coach of the freshman football team and is a full-time teacher at Lake Brantley High school.
MHR gives a Mile High Salute to George Coghill as the Greatest Bronco to wear #48.