Just like Billy Thompson I have a personal story about "Chicken". It was almost a year after I had met Billy Thompson and had a chance to touch the Lombardi Trophy in person. One of my high school teachers was Tyrone's neighbor. She asked him to come in one afternoon and talk to her classes. They crowded maybe forty or fifty of us into her classroom and we all listened to Tyrone talk about his life.
These years later I don't completely remember what he said. Rather than reconnect the wrong dots about what he said, I just want to tell you what kind of man he is. When he first walked into the room I thought to myself "dang that's the guy that lays dudes out?" He was a smaller man, and because he was wearing shorts, I could also see he had skinny legs--which is probably why he carries the nickname "Chicken". His eyes lit up as he talked to us about different things. While he was no doubt just doing a favor for a neighbor, he was also interested in meeting us and talking with us.
That day I remember we got to a question and answer session and it inevitably came to the subject of the super bowl ring he was wearing. As soon as a classmate mentioned it, he quickly took it off his finger as if he was taking off a normal trinket and without any reservation, passed it around the classroom for everyone to touch and look at. He remained talking while it was being passed around--which is probably the reason I don't remember a lot of what he had to say. I paid attention to the ring, waiting it to get to me for my turn to hold it. The super bowl ring is something you always hear about, and I remember the talk surrounding Elway was always "can he get his ring?" That always stuck with me.
The ring already had legendary status to me--it was what John Elway (my childhood hero) was always searching for---and now I would get to size it up and find out why. When it was placed into my up-turned palm, the weight dropped my hand a couple of inches. I grabbed it between my thumb and forefinger and placed it onto my middle finger on the other hand. There it was shining and glistening with beautiful white and orange diamonds, reading in large bold letters "WORLD CHAMPIONS". I kept it as long as I could looking at it from shank to shank and on the crest, trying to process what great meaning that trinket had to the players.
Afterwards, Tyrone took the time to shake our hands and I remember looking up at him and just saying "Thank You!" He flashed a big grin with his pearly whites and jerry curl--whenever I see Jules in Pulp Fiction it reminds me of Tyrone, and said "you're welcome my man!". On the field Tyrone was a terror to opposing ball carriers. Off of it, on that day, he was pure class.
Mr. Braxton was drafted by the Broncos in the 1987 NFL draft in the 12th round, 334th overall. He played 13 years in the NFL, 12 of which were spent as a Bronco. Tyrone saw the big stage on four separate occasions playing in Super Bowls 22, 24, 32, and 33). He is a two time champion, part of the back to back teams in the late 90's. In 1996 Braxton recorded a team high 9 INT's which was good enough for his one and only pro bowl appearance.
Continuing the great line of Broncos ball-hawking safeties, Tyrone Braxton recorded 36 career INT's and 10 career fumble recoveries to go along with 4 defensive scores. He played in 165 career games as a Bronco, starting 132 of them. Like so many great Broncos from the super bowl era, his star faded the year after in 1999.
Cool 34 Factoid
Tyrone Braxton is currently an assistant coach at Arvada High School.
Notable Broncos to wear #34
Tyrone Braxton 1987-1993, 1995-1999