|Harold "Hal" Smith||T||1960|
This is a largely undistinguished group of players. 15 players (5 offensive tackles, 4 offensive guards, 3 defensive tackles, 2 centers and 1 defensive end) have all worn #72 over a collection of 39 seasons. Nine of the fifteen were with the Broncos a single season and none of that group appeared in more than seven games -- four of them did not appear in a single game, including the last three players to wear the number. Only one of those nine started a game.
Of the remaining six, one played two seasons, two had four seasons, two had six seasons and one had eight seasons. Five of these six will appear in the poll after the jump.
Take a jump with me and meet the men of #72.
Harold "Hal" Smith T 1960
Drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 18th round (214th overall) of the 1957 NFL Draft. There is no record of him playing for the Cardinals. He played 10 games in 1960 for the Patriots before joining the Broncos for 3 games. He had no starts for Denver.
Jerry Sturm C 1961-66
Undrafted player. He played LT, LG and C for the Broncos. He appeared in 84 games with 0 starts. In 1961, he rushed the ball 8 times for 31 yards and caught 2 passes for -1 yards. In 1964 and 1965, he returned 2 kicks for 2 yards. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1964 and 1966. He and his wife have owned and operated "The South" restaurant in Englewood, Colorado for 37 years now.
Richard Tyson G 1967
Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 3rd round (34th overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft and drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round (71st overall) of the 1966 AFL Draft. He opted to sign with the Raiders. He joined the Broncos in 1967, appearing in 7 games with 0 starts.
Sam Brunelli G 1968-71
Undrafted player. He wore #68 in 1968 and #64 in 1967. He wore #72 from 1968 to 1971. He appeared in 46 games wearing #72 and started 43 of them. He recovered 2 fumbles.
Bob Kampa DT 1974
Drafted by the Bills in the 3rd round (77th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft. He appeared in 4 games with 1 start for the Broncos.
Wayne Hammond DT 1976
Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 5th round (112th overall) of the 1975 NFL Draft. There is no record of him ever playing for the Rams. He appeared in 5 games with 0 starts for the Broncos.
Don Latimer DT 1978-83
Drafted by the Broncos in the 1st round (27th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft. He appeared in 80 games with 7 starts. He is credited with 1.5 sacks, 1 intereception that he returned for a touchdown and 2 fumble recoveries.
Marsharne Graves T 1984
Undrafted player. He appeared in 1 game for Denver.
Keith Kartz C 1987-94
Undrafted player. He wore #60 in 1987 and #72 the rest of his career. He appeared in 100 games with 88 starts for the Broncos. He recovered 6 fumbles. He was 2nd in the NFL in fumble recoveries with 4 in 1991. He was a starter in Super Bowl XXIV.
Ernest Jones DE 1996-97
Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 3rd round (100th overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft. There is no record of him ever playing for the Rams. He played for New Orleans before coming to Denver. He appeared in 8 games with 0 starts for the Broncos. He is credited with 3 tackles and 1 assist.
Brandon Winey T 2001
Drafted by the Dolphins in the 6th round (164th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. There is no record of him appearing any games for either the Dolphins or the Broncos.
George Foster T 2003-06
Drafted by the Broncos in the 1st round (20th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He appeared in 49 games with 45 starts for the Broncos. He is credited with recovering 1 fumble. He was part of an offensive line that broke a 1971 franchise record of 22 allowed sacks by allowing only 15. That same line helped three different running backs have 100-yard games in a single season. The line also helped Mike Anderson rush for over 1000 yards in 2005, as well as helping Tatum bell rush for over 900 yards in the same season. However, he fell out of favor with Head Coach Mike Shanahan and was traded to the Lions in 2007, along with Tatum Bell and a 5th round draft pick, for cornerback Dre Bly.
Isaac Snell G 2007
Undrafted player. He started with the Jets in 2005, moved to the Titans in 2006 and came to the Broncos in 2007. There is no record of him appearing in any games for any of these three teams.
Pat Murray G 2008
Undrafted player signed by the Packers in 2007. He appeared on the rosters of both the Seahawks and the Broncos in 2008, but there is no record of his appearing any games for either team.
Herb Taylor T 2009
Drafted by the Chiefs in the 6th round (196th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. There is no record of his appearing in any games for the Broncos.
Only five of the fifteen players to wear #72 had extensive careers with the Broncos and deserve to be considered for the title "Greatest to Wear #72": Sturm (6 years, 84 games, 0 starts), Brunelli (4 years, 46 games, 43 starts), Latimer (6 years, 80 games, 7 starts), Kartz (8 years, 100 games, 88 starts) and Foster (4 years, 49 games, 45 starts). And the nod goes to:
Who was the greatest Bronco to wear #72?
Jerry Sturm C 1961-66 (9 votes)
Sam Brunelli G 1968-71 (1 vote)
Don Latimer DT 1978-83 (17 votes)
Keith Kartz C 1987-94 (182 votes)
George Foster T 2003-06 (19 votes)
228 total votes