Thirteen players have worn #65 for the Denver Broncos in team history. Ten Offensive Linemen and three Defensive Linemen. One is even a Hall of Fame player. Here they are for your inspection.
Gary Zimmerman T 1993-97
Monte Smith G 1989
Walt Bowyer DE 1983-84, ‘87-88
Glenn Hyde G 1976-81
LeFrancis Arnold G/C 1974
Lloyd Voss T 1972
Jay Bachman C 1968, ‘70-71
Walter Highsmith C 1969
George Tarasovic DE 1966
Don Shackelford G 1964
John Denvir G 1962
Joe Young DE 1960-61
Joe Young was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 24th round (287th overall) of the 1955 NFL Draft. He played 20 games at Defensive End for the Broncos during the 1960-61 seasons.
John Denvir was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 30th round (240th overall) of the 1962 AFL Draft and the Green Bay Packers in the 12th round (166th overall) of the 1961 NFL Draft. John played 11 games for the Broncos in 1962. Other than the fact that he went to College in Colorado and West Virginia, he doesn't have a thing in common with the singer.
Don Shackelford was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 6th round (41st overall) of the 1964 AFL Draft and the Cleveland Browns in the 4th round (54th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft. Don played 8 games in a Bronco uniform during the 1964 season and had a 13-yard kickoff return.
George Tarasovic was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2nd round (18th overall) of the 1952 NFL Draft. He played 10 years in Pittsburgh and 3 years in Philadelphia before joining the Broncos for the 1966 season. George appeared in 6 games for the Broncos. Tarasovic had a storied career, but it was in Pittsburgh where he made his mark.
Walter "Buzz" Highsmith went Undrafted out of Florida A&M. He signed with the Broncos in 1968 and wore #56. The next year Walter switched to #65 and appeared in 9 games.
Lloyd Voss was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2nd round (11th overall) of the 1964 AFL Draft and the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (13th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft. He played two years in Green Bay and 6 years in Pittsburgh before joining the Broncos for the 1972 season. He started 7 of 13 games for the Broncos at Left Defensive End.
Jay Bachman was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round (132nd overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. However, his rookie season didn't begin until 1968 in Denver when he played six games for the Broncos. In 1969, #65 was worn by Buzz Highsmith, so Bachman had the #56 jersey. That only lasted one year and for 1970 and 1971 seasons, Bachman was back at #65. All told, Jay started 1 game out of 31 and returned 2 kickoffs for 20 yards.
LeFrancis Arnold went Undrafted out of Oregon. He played 2 games for the Broncos in 1974.
Monte Smith was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 9th round (236th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft. He appeared in 14 games for the Broncos in 1989.
Walt Bowyer was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 10th round (254th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He played 4 seasons for the Broncos from 1983-88, skipping the 1985 and 1986 seasons. He played in 1 Super Bowl and played in the first strike game along with Bobby Micho in 1987. Bowyer's started 18 of 61 games at Left Defensive End, with one interception and 2 Fumbles recovered.
Glenn Hyde was Undrafted out of Pitt University in 1976. He played 6 seasons for the Broncos through 1981 and again in 1985. He played for the Baltimore Colts in 1982, the Seattle Seahawks in 1986 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987. Hyde also played in the World Football League for the Chicago Fire and the Charlotte Hornets, and in the United States Football League for the Denver Gold and the Chicago Blitz.
Glenn was one of those high-energy Special-Teams guys who go all-out with reckless abandon, a style that attracted a cult-like following. Fans emblazoned with "Hyde's Herd" T-shirts were seen at old Mile High Stadium on a regular basis. He was a tenacious player and that made him valuable as a reserve on the offensive line, where he could play either Guard or Tackle. But he was a starter on special teams.
"I could run pretty good, and special teams is where I made my living right from the get-go. But because I could play both guard and tackle, it allowed some coaches to keep one less offensive lineman on the roster."
Hyde's style of play earned him the nickname "Lumpy" from teammate Tom Jackson. He started 12 of 98 games in Denver and had 2 kickoff returns for 32 yards. Glenn was also a member of the Denver Broncos 1977 AFC Champions that went to the Team's first Super Bowl.
Cooper Carlisle was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round (112th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. He played for the Broncos for 7 seasons from 2000 to 2006. Cooper became a regular starter in 2005, and started in his last 30 regular season games for the Broncos. He signed with the Oakland Raiders as a Restricted Free Agent on April 23, 2007 and has been a starter for them since the 2007 season. With the Broncos, Carlisle started 38 of 95 games and recorded 5 Fumble Recoveries. He also has a touchdown catch to his credit. It came during a Week 2 game against the Chargers in San Diego. Bronco quarterback Jake Plummer threw a 6-yard pass to a Tackle-Eligible Carlisle in the 2nd quarter. The Broncos went on to win the game 37-13.
Now a couple of these guys were pretty good and had some time in Denver, but I think it's clear that the Greatest Bronco to wear #65 is...
Gary Zimmerman was drafted by the New York Giants in the 1st round (3rd overall) of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft. He was also drafted in the 2nd round (36th overall) by the Los Angeles Express in the 1984 USFL Draft. Gary subsequently signed with the Express and went onto start in 34 of 35 games at Left Tackle. The rights to Zimmerman were acquired by the Minnesota Vikings for two 2nd-round picks in the 1986 draft. So after the fledgling USFL folded in August of 1986, he joined the Minnesota Vikings where he played from 1986-1992.
Gary was acquired by the Broncos via trade with Minnesota prior to the last preseason game of the 1993 season and played in Denver from 1992-1997. Arriving as the veteran player to an offense that was made up of mostly rookies, Zimmerman would in effect become the leader of the Broncos offensive line.
"I remember the first day in camp after he came over from Minnesota, just the blow he delivered to those guys rushing the passer," Elway said. "It shocked me, the noise that it made when he struck the defensive lineman on a pass rush."
During his time in the NFL, Zimmerman was notorious for his refusal to cooperate with the media after a negative press leak. He decided to boycott the media as a result, refusing to do interviews or engage in any sort of interaction with them for the rest of his career. In fact, it was Zimmerman who started the famous no-interview policy for the Broncos' Offensive Line, a policy that lasted 9 years after he retired.
In his 12-year career, he played for the Minnesota Vikings from 1986-1992 and for the Denver Broncos from 1993-1997. He started all 184 NFL games he played in. As a Bronco, Gary started all 76 games including Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. He also recovered one Fumble. He earned 3 consecutive Pro Bowl selections (1994-96) as a key component of Bronco offenses that led the NFL in total yards twice (1996-97) and recorded 3 consecutive top-5 league rushing rankings (1995-97) and leading the NFL in rushing in 1996.
Zimmerman was equally adept at pass blocking, as evidenced by the fact that Minnesota and Denver quarterbacks led their conferences in passing in 1986, 1988, 1993, and 1996.
Gary was no stranger to injury and pain. In 1996, the durable lineman played with severe pain in both shoulders. His consecutive game streak came to a halt when late-season surgery on one of his injured shoulders forced him to the sidelines. He played the last two seasons with damaged shoulders, a bum knee and pain in his left hip that only (Broncos Trainer) Steve Antonopolous knew about, but those old injuries bother him to this day.
- One of a select few named to 2 NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s)
- 7-Time Pro Bowler (1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996)
- 5-Time 1st-team All-Pro selection (1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1996)
- 3-Time 2nd-team All-Pro selection (1986, 1993, 1995)
- Played in 169 consecutive games and a total of 184 in his career.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008)
- Denver Broncos Ring of Fame (2003)
- Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (2002)
- 2-Time All-USFL selection (1984, 1985)
- USFL All-Time Team
MHR gives a Mile High Salute to Gary Zimmerman as the Greatest Bronco to wear #65.