Sixteen players have worn #89 for the Broncos and it has been worn in thirty-four of Denver's seasons. Yet, the pool for the title "Greatest to Wear" is remarkably small: Ten players wore the number for just a single season. Two more had the number on their jerseys for a pair of seasons. Two players wore #89 for three seasons, one for five seasons and one for eleven seasons.
While there are some interesting stories, and one very deserving runner up to the title, there is only one player (in this writer's opinion anyway) who has truly earned the accolade.
Take a jump if you'd like to learn who it is.
Kenneth Carpenter WR 1960
Drafted by the Browns in the 1st round (13th overall) of the 1950 NFL Draft. He played for Cleveland from 1950 to 1953 then for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League from 1954 to 1959. He joined the Broncos in 1960. He appeared in 6 games with 0 starts. He rushed 4 times for 13 yards. He caught 29 passes for 350 yards with 1 touchdown.
Bill Groman HB 1963
Undrafted player. He played for the Oilers from 1960 to 1962. He joined Denver in 1963. He appeared in 14 games with 0 starts. He caught 27 passes for 437 yards with 3 touchdowns. He is the only player to have played on four AFL Championship teams -- unfortunately, Denver wasn't one of them.
Gary Henson E 1964
Drafted by both the Rams (14th round, 184th overall) of the 1962 NFL Draft and the Oilers (28th round, 223rd overall) of the 1962 AFL Draft. He did not play for either of those teams. He played for the Eagles in 1963, then the Broncos in 1964. He appeared in 1 game but did not start. He accrued no statistics.
Max Wettstein E 1966
Undrafted player. He appeared in 2 games with 0 starts. He accrued no statistics.
Andre White TE 1967
Drafted by the Redskins in the 19th round (281st overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft. There is no record of him playing for Washington. He joined the Broncos in 1967. He appeared in 14 games with 0 starts. He caught 5 passes for 87 yards. He recovered 1 fumble. He forced 1 safety.
John Embree WR 1969-70
Undrafted player. He appeared in 20 games with 6 starts. He caught 33 passes for 519 yards with 5 touchdowns.
Gordon Bowdell WR 1971
Drafted by the Colts in the 7th round (182nd overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. He never played for the Colts. He appeared in 2 game with 0 starts. He caught 1 pass for 19 yards.
Clay Brown TE 1983
Drafted by the Broncos in the 2nd round (42nd overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft. He did not make a team in 1981. He played for the Falcons in 1982. He joined the Broncos in 1983. He appeared in 3 games with 0 starts. He accrued no statistics.
Dave Logan WR 1984
Drafted by the Browns in the 3rd round (65th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. He was also drafted by the NBA's Sacramento Kings and the MLB's Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in 4 games with 0 starts. He caught 1 pass for 3 yards. After his retirement, he became the voice of the play-by-play for Denver Broncos radio broadcasts, and hosted a talk show on KOA radio. He also coached football at the high school level, becoming the only coach to lead three different high schools (Arvada West, Chatfield and Mullen) to a state championship.
Keli McGregor TE 1985
Drafted by the Broncos in the 4th round (110th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft. He appeared in 2 games with 0 starts. He accrued no statistics. After his retirement, he went into sports administration, eventually becoming the President of the Colorado Rockies in 2001. He held that position until his death in 2010.
Orson Mobley TE 1986-90
Drafted by the Broncos in the 6th round (151st overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft. He spent his entire career with the Broncos. He appeared in 61 games with 31 starts. He caught 84 passes for 1019 yards with 4 touchdowns. He rushed 1 time for -1 yard. He fumbled 4 times and recovered 2 fumbles. He returned 1 kick for 9 yards. He appeared in 3 Super Bowls (XXI, XXII, XXIV) with 1 start (XXIV). In those three games he caught 2 passes for 17 yards. Late in his career he was suspended by the league for substance abuse.
Kerry Locklin TE 1987
Drafted by the Rams in the 6th round (145th overall) of the 1982 NFL Draft. He played for the Rams in 1982, played in the Arena Football League from 1984 to 1985,and joined the Broncos in 1987. He appeared in 3 games with 0 starts and accrued no statistics.
Reggie Johnson TE 1991-93
Drafted by the Broncos in the 2nd round (30th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft. He appeared in 44 games with 22 starts. He caught 36 passes for 455 yards with 3 touchdowns. He rushed 2 times for 7 yards. He returned 2 kicks for 47 yards. He fumbled 1 time and recovered 2 fumbles.
Dwayne Carswell TE 1994-2004
Undrafted player. He spent his entire career with the Broncos. He appeared in 163 games with 82 starts. He caught 192 passes for 1707 yards wtih 15 touchdowns. He returned 5 kicks for 14 yards. He recovered 5 fumbles. He was voted into a Pro Bowl in 2001. He was part of the Broncos' two Super Bowl winning teams. His first career reception was a 5-yard pass from eventual Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway. His career came to an end following serious internal injuries suffered in a car crash. He received the Ed Block Courage Award for his recovery from that accident.
Nate Jackson TE 2005-06
Undrafted player. He spent the 2002 season on the 49ers practice squad before coming to Denver. He wore #14 during his first 2 seasons and #81 his last two. The statistics included here reflect his production only during 2005 and 2006. He appeared in 13 games with 0 starts. He caught 5 passes for 49 yards.
Daniel Graham TE 2007-10
Drafted by the Patriots in the 1st round (21st overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He came to the Broncos as a free agent in 2007. He appeared in 63 games with 61 starts. He caught 102 passes for 1072 yards with 7 touchdowns. He fumbled 1 time and recovered 1 fumble. He has been lauded as being the best blocking TE in the NFL. He was voted an offensive captain along with QB Jay Cutler for the 2008 season. He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009 with a picture of him hurdling a Dallas Cowboys player. He was released by the Broncos in March of 2011. He is the son of Tom Graham -- a Denver linebacker from 1972 to 1974.
As I mentioned above, while there are some interesting stories, and one very deserving runner up to the title, there is only one player (in this writer's opinion anyway) who has truly earned the accolade.
|Orson Mobley TE 1986-90||Dwayne Carswell 1994-2004|
|Acquired By:||Drafted - 6th Round (151st overall)||Undrafted Free Agent|
|Entire Career with Denver?||Yes||Yes|
|Number of Seasons||5||11|
|Super Bowls||XXI, XXII, XXIV||XXXI, XXXII|
|Career Ended By||Effectively ended after being suspended by the league for substance abuse||Effectively ended following internal injuries sustained in a car crash|