Twenty two players wore #85 in the history of the Denver Broncos. Eleven Wide Receivers, nine Tight Ends, a Linebacker and a Split End. I can tell you right now, this will be a strung out post filled with Plain Jane's with a couple of Diva's thrown in. Number 85 was the Broncos version of Area 51. Don't believe me? Read on.
Phil McGeoghan WR 2001
Chafie Fields WR 2000
Robert Brooks WR 2000
Chris Doering WR 1999
Willie Green WR 1997-98
Jeff Wilner TE 1995
Derek Russell WR 1991-94
Tim Stallworth WR 1990
Chris Woods WR 1989
Rick Massie WR 1987-88
Joey Hackett TE 1986
Mike Barber TE 1985
Don Summers TE 1984-85
Ron Egloff TE 1977-83
John Mosier TE 1971
Tom Beer TE 1967-69
Larry Jordan LB 1962
James Greer SE 1960
We begin our story with the incumbent.
Daniel Coats went Undrafted out of BYU in 2007. He signed on with the Bengals and appeared in at least 15 games in each of his first 3 full NFL seasons, including 16 games in 2008 and 2009. Daniel played 6 games for Cincinnati before being released by the club on October 26th. He was signed by Denver on November 9th and released the next day because the team decided to sign Running Back Lance Ball to the active roster. The Broncos brought him back on December 7th when Tight End Dan Gronkowski and Linebacker Joe Mays were placed on injured reserve. Daniel made his Broncos debut on December 12th in Arizona. Coats had 3 Tackles on Special Teams in his limited action.
James Greer was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 23rd round (277th overall) of the 1955 NFL Draft. There is no record of his time there, but he played one season (1960) in a Denver Bronco uniform as a Split End. He appeared in all 14 games, with 22 catches for 284 yards and one touchdown. Greer also returned one kickoff 11 yards.
Larry Jordan went Undrafted out of Youngstown State. In 1962, he signed with the Broncos and played two seasons in Denver. However, it was only in his rookie year that he wore #85, appearing in two games.
John Mosier was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 6th round (141st overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He started 1 of 11 games in 1971, catching 3 passes for 36 yards and rushing for 31 yards on 4 carries. He spent the next year with the Baltimore Colts before retiring.
Don Summers went Undrafted out of Boise State. In 1984, he signed on with the Broncos and played Tight End for 2 seasons from 1984-85. He started 2 of 18 games, with 3 catches for 32 yards and one Fumble Recovery.
Mike Barber was drafted by the Oilers in the 2nd round (48th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. He spent 6 years in Houston and 4 years with the Los Angeles Rams before joining the Broncos for one season in 1985. Barber started 1 of 10 games at Tight End, with an 8-yard reception to his credit.
Phil McGeoghan was an Undrafted Free Agent out of Boston University who signed with the Broncos in 2001. He appeared in 2 games and was never heard from again.
Joey Hackett went Undrafted out of Elon University in 1986. He signed with the Broncos and started 4 of 16 games at Tight End that year, with 3 receptions for 48 yards. He also recovered one Fumble. Hackett moved on to play for the Green Bay Packers from 1987-88 before returning.
Rick Massie was drafted by the Broncos in the 2nd round (46th overall) of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He played in Denver over 2 seasons, wearing two different numbers. In 1988, Massie wore #85 and appeared in 4 games, catching 3 passes for 39 yards.
Chris Woods was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1st round (28th overall) of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He played the first two of a 3 year career with the Oakland Raiders, coming to Denver in 1989. Chris played in one game for the Broncos, returning 2 Punts for 6 yards and one kickoff 17 yards.
Tim Stallworth was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 6th round (161st overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft. He played one game for the Broncos in 1990.
Jeff Wilner signed with the Green Bay Packers in 1994 as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Connecticut. He played for them through the 2nd Week of the 1995 season before being cut. Wilner was then picked up by the Broncos, but never saw any game action.
Chris Doering was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 6th round (185th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft. He played his first 2 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before joining the Broncos in 1999. Chris appeared in 3 games and caught 3 passes for 22 yards in his only season in Denver. Doering played three more seasons upon leaving the Broncos. One in Washington and two in Pittsburgh.
Chad Mustard was an Undrafted Free Agent out of North Dakota, who signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2003. He spent 2 years with the Browns from 2003-04 and was on the offseason roster with the Carolina Panthers in 2005. Chad signed with the Broncos in 2006 and played 3 seasons through 2008. Mustard started 6 of 32 games and made 7 receptions for 85 yards. He also returned 2 kickoffs for 19 yards and recovered one Fumble. He is now a math teacher and coach at Bellevue West High School in Nebraska.
Robert Brooks was drafted by the Packers in the 3rd round (62nd overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft. He played 7 seasons in Green Bay, joining the Broncos in the final year of his career, 2000. Brooks saw action in 4 games, with 3 receptions for 51 yards.
Chafie Fields went undrafted in the 2000 NFL Draft out of Penn State. He spent the last 6 Weeks of the 2000 season on the Broncos Inactive list and wasn't re-signed after the season. In 2005, Chafie partnered with Joel Segal to form Fields Consulting and represents various athletes and entertainers.
Eddie Kennison was drafted by the Rams in the 1st round (18th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft. He spent 3 years in St. Louis and then made a stop in Chicago. In April 2001, he signed a two-year, $1.8 million deal that included a $500,000 signing bonus with the Broncos. Kennison started 6 of 8 games in Denver, with 15 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball 3 times for an additional 9 yards. After lackluster results, Kennison requested his release a few hours before a game in which he was scheduled to start. He stated at the time he had "lost his love for the game." In reality, he bailed on his teammates. His loss, along with a severe injury to Ed McCaffrey, put the Broncos in a difficult situation. Less than a month later, Eddie signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom he played another 7 years. They even signed him to a $9 Million contract. (I bet he absolutely hated that). In 2007, a severe hamstring injury on the 1st play of the season kept him from playing much ever again. The Chiefs released Kennison in 2008 and he became a St.Louis Ram again momentarily. In 2010, he signed a one-day contract with the Chiefs so he could retire as a member of the team.
I warned you didn't I. Well, it gets a little better from here on out. I have placed five finalists for this accolade down below, so the content is about to improve. Not by much though.
Ron Egloff went Undrafted out of Wisconsin. He signed with the Broncos in 1977 and played 7 seasons in Denver through 1983. Ron started 25 of 93 games at Tight End, catching 64 passes for 747 yards and 4 touchdowns. Egloff returned 2 kickoffs for 7 yards, Fumbled twice and recovered one. He was a member of the Broncos 1977 AFC Championship team that went to Super Bowl XII. Ron played the final season of his career with the San Diego Chargers in 1984.
Tom Beer was drafted by the Broncos in the 2nd round (32nd overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He played 3 seasons in Denver from 1967-69, starting 21 of 37 games. Beer made 40 catches for 631 yards, a 15.8 average and one touchdown. He also returned one kickoff 10 yards and recovered a Fumble.
Derek Russell was drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round (89th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft. He started 38 of 50 games in Denver as a Wide Receiver/Kick Returner for 4 seasons from 1991-94. Derek caught 102 passes for 1,518 yards, a 14.9 average and 5 touchdowns. He ran for 6 yards on one carry, Fumbled once and recovered one. On Special Teams, Russell returned 37 kickoffs for 753 yards, a 20.4 average.
Willie Green was drafted by the Lions in the 8th round (194th overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft. He spent 3 years in Detroit, another in Tampa Bay and 2 more with the Carolina Panthers before joining the Broncos in 1997. Willie played 2 seasons in Denver, starting 1 of 31 games, He made 35 receptions for 434 yards and 3 touchdowns. Green won 2 Rings as part of the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII Championships.
Ashley Lelie was drafted by the Broncos in the 1st round (19th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent 4 seasons in Denver from 2002-05. Ashley started 40 of 64 games as the #2 Wide Receiver, opposite Rod Smith. He had 168 receptions for 3,007 yards, a 19.9 average and 12 touchdowns. Lelie also ran the ball for 172 yards on 20 carries for an 8.6 average. In 2004 and 2005, he led the league in Yards per Catch with 20.1 and 18.3 respectively. His best season came in 2004 when he had 54 catches for 1,084 yards and 7 touchdowns. At the onset of the 2006 season, Lelie began the diva act that got him released from the Broncos.
Unhappy with the team because they traded for Javon Walker during the Draft, he skipped Training Camp and asked to be traded. Ashley claimed he was a #1 Wide Receiver. Mike Shanahan would have nothing to do with that and told him to prove it. In August, Lelie got his wish. The Broncos traded him to the Atlanta Falcons in a 3-way deal with the Washington Redskins. He spent one year in San Francisco and then went on to play as a backup for the 49ers and the Raiders in 2007 and 2008.
So we have Ron Egloff, a Tight End who played 7 seasons while catching a reasonable amount of passes for his era and despite being behind Riley Odoms and who went to the first Bronco Super Bowl appearance. Then we have Tom Beer, a Split End who started 21 games in 3 years. Derek Russell, who played 4 years with 102 catches and 37 kick returns. Willie Green, who started 1 game in 2 seasons, but also won two Super Bowl Rings. Finally, there's Ashley Lelie, a diva who played 4 seasons starting 40 games and compiling 168 catches, 3,007 yards and 12 scores.
Even though he was a diva, count my vote for Ashley Lelie. He stands out the most in my opinion. What do you say MHR. Who is the Greatest Bronco to wear #85?