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Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: #22

Seventeen players have worn the number 22 jersey for the Denver Broncos; eight Defensive Backs and nine Running Backs. No doubt you are probably relieved that we are safely past the Kickers and into the position players. So without further adieu, here are the candidates:

Syd'Quan Thompson CB 2010-
Peyton Hillis FB 2008-09
Domonique Foxworth CB 2005-07
Quentin Griffin RB 2003-04
Olandis Gary RB 1999-2002
Vaughn Hebron RB 1996-98
Glyn Milburn RB 1993-95
Alton Montgomery S 1990-93
Tony Lilly S 1984-87
Aaron Kyle DB 1980-82
Steve Haggerty DB 1975
Fran Lynch HB 1967-76
Bobby Ply DB 1967
Gerry Bussell DB 1965
Elihu (Buddy) Allen HB 1961
David Ames HB 1961
Bob Stransky HB 1960

Since we are dealing with two positions, I will list the RB's together and the DB's in the second part instead of in historical precedence. Ready. Let's roll.

The Defensive Backs

Gerry Bussell was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 9th round (65th overall) of the 1965 AFL Draft. He appeared in 6 games, mostly on the Special Teams Unit. Gerry returned 2 punts an average of 12.0 yards and 5 kickoffs an average of 20.6 yards.

Bobby Ply was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th round (216th overall) of the 1962 NFL Draft. He played six seasons, for the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills, and the Broncos. He started the only game he played in Denver, compiling no stats.

Steve Haggerty was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 10th round (251st overall) of the 1975 NFL Draft. He appeared in one game for the Broncos in 1975, but didn't record any stats.

Aaron Kyle was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1st round (27th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. After 4 years in Dallas, he spent the last 3 seasons in his career as a Bronco. Aaron started 34 out of 35 games at the Right Cornerback position, intercepting 5 passes and recovering 7 Fumbles.

Tony Lilly was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round (78th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. Tony played 4 seasons mainly as a backup at Free Safety for the Broncos. He finally got the the starting spot in his last year (1987), including Super Bowl XXII. Lilly played in 58 games and started 15, recording 1 Sack, 9 interceptions, 1 Forced Fumble and 3 recoveries. He also returned 2 punts for 6 yards.

Alton Montgomery was drafted by Denver in the 2nd round (52nd overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft. He saw time at Safety, but was the Broncos starting Kick Returner in 1991-92. He had 2 interceptions and 5 Fumble Recoveries on defense, while returning 61 kickoffs an average of 20.3 yards and a long of 64 yards. After his time in Denver, Alton played 3 seasons for the Atlanta Falcons.

Domonique Foxworth was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round (97th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. One of the fastest Broncos ever drafted (4.22 forty), Foxworth accumulated 174 tackles, 3 interceptions, 26 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles in 46 games. His role on the Team was to Darrent Williams' backup at right cornerback, backup safety and special teams player. He was elected to the NFLPA executive committee in 2008. On September 2, 2008, Foxworth was traded to the Atlanta Falcons for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and in 2009, he signed as an unrestricted Free Agent with the Baltimore Ravens. Domonique missed the entire 2010 season due to a torn ACL in training camp.

Syd'Quan Thompson was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 7th round (225th overall) in last years NFL Draft. He appeared in 13 games, recording 13 Tackles, forced 3 Fumbles and recovering one. He added 2 interceptions, 4 Passes Defensed and he returned 3 Punts for 18 yards as a backup Cornerback.

The Running Backs

One of the last of the single-wing tailbacks, Halfback Bob Stransky was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 2nd round (24th overall) of the 1958 NFL Draft. He played one year in the AFL, with the Denver Broncos in 1960, rushing for 78 yards on 28 carries in 14 games. Stransky Was an All-American at Colorado in his senior year of 1957. He had 2 interceptions in CU's 27-21 win over Clemson, the 1st bowl win in CU history. He was named to CU's 25-man all-century team.

David Ames was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th round (186th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. A two-way player at Halfback/Defensive Back, Ames played 5 games for the (AFL) New York Titans and 7 games with the Broncos in 1961. He rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries, a 6.0 average. He also caught six passes for 30 yards. Dave spent some time on Special Teams, returning 2 punts an average of 8.5 yards and 12 kickoffs for a 20 yard average.

Elihu (Buddy) Allen appeared in one game for the Broncos in 1961. He had 3 carries for (-4) yards.

Fran Lynch was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round (110th overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He spent his entire 9-year career as a Bronco, appearing in 99 games and starting 15. Lynch was a reserve halfback, playing behind Broncos' started Floyd Little. He ran for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns on 304 carries. He added 35 catches for 357 yards and 2 touchdowns and returned 5 kickoffs for a 23.2 yard average. Lynch now resides in the Denver area and serves on the Denver Broncos Alumni Association.

Vaughn Hebron was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Virginia Tech. He played Running Back there for two years before coming to the Broncos where he was used as a backup RB and the Kick Return Specialist. In his 3 years with the Broncos, Hebron appeared in 47 games (1 start), ran for 515 yards, 2 touchdowns at a 4.5 average. He added 12 receptions for 84 yards. On special Teams, he returned 134 kickoffs 3,324 yards for a 24.8 yard average and 1 touchdown. Vaughn eclipsed 1200 return yards in each of his 3 seasons in Denver. He also won two Super Bowl Rings (Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII).

Olandis Gary was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round (127th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played 4 years with the Broncos appearing in 35 games and starting 15. His best year was in 1999, when he made 12 starts and ran for 1,159 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was 3rd in the League with 96.6 Rushing yards per game. In 2000, a knee injury shut him down for the season and he never really returned from it. Gary's overall stats as a Bronco, are 383 carries, 1,614 yards, 9 touchdowns, a 4.2 average and 46 receptions for 346 yards.

Quentin Griffin was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round (108th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He appeared in 16 games, including 5 starts in his initial two seasons. He even set a Broncos franchise record in 2004 for most rushing yards in a season opener with a career-high 156 yards on 23 carries against the Kansas City Chiefs while adding his first 3 career touchdowns. In 2004, Griffin tore his right ACL during Week 7, ending his season. That injury dropped him to the bottom of the depth chart behind Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne. Quentin was released in September 2005, Denver released, re-signed and released him again within a month's time. Griffin signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006, but he was cut in Training Camp. In his 2 seasons as a Bronco, Quentin had 656 rushing yards on 179 carries, a 3.7 average and two touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 129 yards and one score.

The Fan Favorite

Peyton Hillis was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 7th round (227th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. He was the starting fullback until injuries decimated the Broncos Running Back corps. Elevated to the starting Running Back spot by attrition, Peyton responded with a 44 yard, 2 touchdown effort on 10 carries to beat the Falcons 24-20 in Atlanta. Two weeks later, he had his first 100-yard rushing game. In total, Hillis appeared in 26 games, starting 8. He ran for 397 yards and 6 touchdowns on 81 carries for a 4.9 average. Peyton caught 18 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown and also returned 10 kickoffs 199 yards for a 19.9 average. Peyton became a cultural icon for his bruising style of running, but after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury, the Broncos finished the season with an 8-8 record and summarily fired head coach Mike Shanahan. Even still, Hillis led the Broncos in rushing with a mere 343 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was expected to start the following season, but new coach Josh McDaniels didn't use the talent he had inherited and traded away many of Denver's skilled players, including Peyton. On March 14, 2010, the Broncos sent Hillis, a 6th round draft pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in the 2012 Draft to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for backup quarterback Brady Quinn. Hillis blossomed to the tune of 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in his new home and Quinn rode the bench. That brilliant move among others got McDaniel's an early termination.

Which brings us to:

The Greatest Bronco to wear #22 is...

Glyn Milburn RB-Returner

Glyn Milburn was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round (43rd overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft. He played 3 years for the Broncos as their primary Returner, although he did see action as a 3rd down option at RB/WR. The 5'8", 177 lb. Milburn played 48 games as a Bronco, starting 6. He returned 112 punts for a 10.3 average and 96 kickoffs for a 23.4 average. Glyn didn't score any touchdowns on returns, but he was dangerously close to busting one on each play. In fact Milburn holds the record for Most All Purpose Yards Gained in a single Game with 404 on December 10, 1995. As a 3rd down back, he rushed for 698 yards and 1 touchdown on 159 carries, a 4.4 average. He also caught 137 passes for 1,040 yards and 6 touchdowns. After the 1995 Season, Terrell Davis was ingrained as the starting Running Back, so Glyn was traded to the Detroit Lions for a 2nd and a 7th round picks in the 1996 NFL draft. Milburn's NFL career continued through the 2001 season, playing for the Lions, Chicago Bears, and briefly for the San Diego Chargers. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1995 as a Bronco and in 1999 as a Chicago Bear, Milburn went to his 2nd Pro Bowl and was named 1st-team All-Pro.

MHR extends a Mile High Salute to Glyn Milburn.

Go Broncos!