Ryan McBean of the Denver Broncos waits for a play during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31 2010 in London England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Seven players wore #98 for the Denver Broncos in the history of the franchise. Four Defensive Ends, one Defensive Tackle, one Linebacker and a Nose Tackle that was perhaps the ideal prototype for the position. Here is the list of candidates for the accolade.
Ryan McBean is the most recent Bronco to wear #98. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 4th round (132nd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. He made one appearance his rookie year and was cut after the season. Ryan was signed to the Broncos Practice Squad on September 1, 2008. He became a starter at Defensive End position for the Broncos in 2009 and registered 26 Tackles. In 2010, he started 4 games and made 18 stops and recovered his first career fumble. McBean also had some lapses in concentration at critical times, getting flagged for back to back Facemask penalties in the Jacksonville game in Week 1. Ryan didn't start learning the game of football until his freshman season at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas and is plainly still learning the game of football. McBean's totals as a Bronco are; 18 starts in 30 games, with 44 Tackles and one Fumble recovery. He is currently a Restricted Free Agent with 3 years service time in the NFL.
Josh Mallard was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 7th round (220th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played one year in Indy, went to Training Camp in 2003, but was waived near the end of Camp. Mallard's NFL career was put on hiatus when he couldn't make it through Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns in 2003 and then the Miami Dolphins in 2004. In 2005, Josh played in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals and in 2006 he played 14 games with the Atlanta Falcons. Mallard joined the Broncos as a Free Agent on November 6, 2007, after playing in 3 games with Atlanta. He played 8 games for Denver, registering 15 Tackles, 3.5 sacks, one pass breakup and one Forced Fumble. He was released on August 25, 2008. Mallard played for the Bengals in 2008 and was a member of the Las Vegas Locomotives UFL champion team in 2009.
Courtney Brown was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 1st overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Brown lived up to his draft position, recording 70 Tackles and 4.5 sacks. However, he was plagued by injury and had trouble staying healthy for the rest of his career. Courtney's 2nd year was shortened because of injury and from 2003-04, he only played in 26 games. In 2005, Brown signed with the Broncos. In his first season in Denver, he started 13 of 14 games, with 24 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 pass deflection and 2 Fumble recoveries. Courtney became a focal point on defense during the Broncos push through the playoffs. Denver came up short of the Super Bowl though, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. After Trevor Pryce bolted in Free Agency, Brown was expected to take a bigger role in the Broncos' defense. In March 2006, he signed a contract extension worth $745,000 with a signing bonus of $1.55 million. However, Brown tore the ACL in his left knee during the 2006 preseason. He was placed on Injured Reserve for the entire 2006 season. On March 19, 2007, Brown was cut by the team after failing a physical. It was reported later that Denver coach Mike Shanahan suggested to Brown that he retire from football.
Ted Washington was drafted by the 49ers in the 1st round (25th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft. He played in San Francisco from 1991–1993. On April 20, 1994, Washington was traded to the Broncos. In his one and only year with Denver, Ted started 15 games, with 87 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The Bengals vs. Broncos game on November 27 marked the beginning of a 119 consecutive game streak that lasted until 2002. The Broncos made a big mistake letting Washington leave through Free Agency. At 6'5" and 350 pounds at his lightest in his prime, Ted Washington is what you see when you look up "Ideal Nose Tackle" in the dictionary. His immense physique caused some to label him "Mt. Washington" or "Washington Monument."
Ted was also known for his longevity. When he played for the Broncos, Washington was 26 years old. He ended up starting at one of the most physically demanding positions in football until the age of 39. Washington played for the Buffalo Bills(1995–2000), Chicago Bears(2001–2002), New England Patriots(2003), Oakland Raiders(2004–2005) and Cleveland Browns (2006–2007) during his career. He weighed 375 pounds in his final NFL season, but he weighed up to 400 pounds at one point. Ted was a 4-Time Pro Bowl selection (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001), a 3-Time All-Pro selection (1997, 1998, 2001) and won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The bad part off all this? He could have done all these things in a Bronco uniform for 12 years. Talk about the big one that got away.
Reggie Hayward was drafted by the Broncos in the 3rd round (87th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. He played 4 seasons with Denver from 2001-04. Reggie started 19 of 47 games at Right Defensive End, with 98 Tackles, 22 Sacks, one interception that was returned 76 yards, 8 pass deflections, 3 Forced Fumbles and 3 Fumble recoveries. Despite having 43 Tackles and 10.5 Sacks in 2004, the Broncos allowed Reggie to test Free Agency.
"I think they went to every length that they could go through to keep me in there," Hayward said. "It was one of those things, a cap casualty I guess. I don't think they didn't keep me for personal reasons; I don't think they had enough money to spread around. Those sort of things happen. That's the nature of the business."
In March 2005, Hayward signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his 1st year in Jacksonville, he had a slight drop-off from the previous tear's totals. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 2006 season, Hayward suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon and was lost for the year on on Injured Reserve. In Week 1 of 2009, Reggie broke his fibula and was out for another season. He was released by the Jaguars on July 7, 2010 and is currently a 32-year old Free Agent.
Ricky Hunley was drafted by the Bengals in the 1st round (7th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. Cincinnati and Hunley couldn't agree to a deal, so his rights were traded to the Broncos for 3 draft picks, who ended up being Tim McGee (1986 1st round pick), David Fulcher (1986 3rd round pick) and Greg Horne (1987 5th round pick). Ricky played 4 seasons with the Broncos from 1984–87, starting 29 of 52 games at Right Inside Linebacker. Hunley had 1.5 Sacks, 3 interceptions including one that he returned 52-yards for a touchdown in 1987, and one Fumble recovery. although Tackle data is not available from before 2001, he led the Broncos in that category in 1986 with 164. He also started Super Bowls XXI and XXII.
Hunley played for the Phoenix Cardinals in 1988, and the Los Angeles Raiders from 1989–90. He was elected Executive Vice President of the NFL Players Association, serving from 1990–92.
When his playing days were over in 1992, he began a Coaching career at the collegiate level for USC (1992–93), Missouri (1994–2000), and Florida (2001) Universities. Hunley moved up to the professional ranks as part of the NFL's Minority Coaching Fellowship program, gaining experience with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992 and San Diego Chargers in 1997. Ricky started his NFL coaching career in 2002 as the Defensive Line coach for the Washington Redskins under Steve Spurrier, where he met Marvin Lewis. He then moved to Linebackers coach under Lewis for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2003 to 2007; he was fired after a disappointing season and a flurry of player injuries and suspensions. He also served on the board of directors for the Black Coaches Association. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.
So we've got a guy who played a half a season, a couple guys who played one year and a couple more that played 4 seasons. That leaves one guy who had the longest tenure plus 2 Rings.
The Greatest Bronco to wear #98 is...
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Maa Tanuvasa was drafted by the Rams in the 8th round (209th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie year with Los Angeles and was released in 1994. Maa landed in Pittsburgh and spent part of the season on the Steelers' Practice Squad. His 1st season in the NFL was with the Broncos in 1995. He played one game that year and then worked his way into the rotation by the 1996 season. By 1998, Tanuvasa was a regular starter. He led the Broncos in Sacks in the 1998 and 1999 seasons and was a starter on the Broncos 1997 and 1998 Super Bowl championship teams.
After the 2000 season with the Broncos, he joined the San Diego Chargers for one year, and the Atlanta Falcons for the next. He has not been in the NFL since, having returned to his native Hawaii. He was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
For 6 seasons as a Bronco (1995-2000), Tanuvasa started 54 of 80 games, compiling 154 Tackles, 33 Sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles and 7 Fumble Recoveries. He also had a 13-yard Kickoff return in 1998. But winning two Super Bowl championships as a main component of the Broncos defense is probably Maa's most notable achievement. Well, that, and the fact that he's Samoan. And Samoans kick ass!
MHR gives a Mile High Salute yo Maa Tanuvasa as the Greatest Bronco to wear #98
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