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Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: #27

Nine Broncos have worn the number 27 in team history. Three Cornerbacks, two Defensive Backs, two Safeties and two Tailbacks. Here are the candidates, but you already know who the clear cut winner is:

Knowshon Moreno RB 2009-Present
Darrent Williams CB 2005-06
Denard Walker CB 2001
Terrell Buckley CB 2000
Steve Atwater FS 1989-98
Kevin Clark DB 1987-88
Maurice Harvey DB 1978, ‘80
Tom Oberg S 1968-69
Charlie Mitchell HB 1963-67

Charlie Mitchell was drafted by the Broncos in the 18th round (141st overall) of the 1963 AFL Draft. He played 5 years in Denver as a Cornerback, Returner and Halfback. In 56 games (no starts), Mitchell had 1,138 yards rushing on 353 carries, a 3.2 average and 5 touchdowns. He caught 62 passes for 550 yards and 3 touchdowns. On defense, Charley made one interception. As a returner, he had 54 punt returns for a 12.0 average and 58 kick returns for a 24.0 yard average and one touchdown.

Tom Oberg was a Strong Safety for the Denver Broncos in the 1968-69 seasons. He started 13 of 16 games, making 3 interceptions and recovering 2 Fumbles.

Maurice Harvey played 7 seasons in the NFL, two for the Denver Broncos, 3 with the Green Bay Packers, one with the Detroit Lions, and one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his time in Denver, Maurice started 3 of 31 games with one interception.

Kevin Clark played Defensive Back with the Denver Broncos for 4 seasons. In the first 2, he wore #27. During that time, Clark started 3 of 14 games. He had 3 interceptions and one Fumble Recovery. Kevin also returned 31 punts for an 11.2 average including a 71 yard touchdown and 2 kickoffs for 33 yards.

Terrell Buckley was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (5th overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft. After 3 years with the Pack and 5 with the Miami Dolphins, Terrell joined the Broncos and started all 16 games of the 2000 season at Right Cornerback. He made 38 Tackles and led Denver with 6 interceptions including a 32-yard pick six against the St. Louis Rams in Week 1. Buckley had his best year in 1996 with Miami, when he led the league in interception return yards with 164. He also earned a Super Bowl Ring with the New England Patriots (XXXVI). Terrell is the only player with 50+ career interceptions to never make a Pro Bowl. He is currently the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Florida State University, his Alma Mater.

Denard Walker wore the #27 jersey in 2001. He started 15 of 16 games at Right Cornerback for the Broncos that year, with 60 Tackles, one Fumble Recovery, 5 Passes defensed and 3 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Walker switched to #25 in 2002 and played one more year in Denver.

Darrent Williams was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round (56th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played two seasons for the Broncos as the starting Right Cornerback and Returner before tragically losing his life. D-Will started 23 of 27 games, with 42 Punt Returns for an 8.4 average. He returned 2 or 3 for touchdowns, but each one was nullified by penalty. On Kickoffs, he returned 18 for a 24.3 average and no touchdowns. Playing opposite Champ Bailey in the Broncos defensive backfield, Darrent made 140 Tackles, 4 fumble Recoveries, 1 Sack and six interceptions, returning 2 for touchdowns.

Knowshon Moreno was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (12th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He asked and received the blessing from the late Darrent Williams' mother Rosalind to wear #27 on condition Knowshon volunteer a couple of hours per month at the Darrent Williams Teen Center. KnoMo has started 22 of 29 games in his 2 seasons with the Broncos. He led all 2009 NFL rookies in rushing yards (947), yards from scrimmage (1,160) and touchdowns (9) and finished tied for 3rd in Offensive Rookie of the Year Award Voting. Knowshon has rushed for 1,726 yards with a 4.0 average and 12 touchdowns. He has been effective as a receiver out of the backfield too, having caught 65 passes for 585 and 5 touchdowns. Moreno is very enthusiastic and that is part of what makes him a good teammate, but in 2 seasons he has struggled with fumbling (1 every 61 attempts) and Hamstring injuries. He has yet to reach his full potential, but if he can stay healthy, there should be some 1,000 yard rushing seasons in the future.

There is a chance that Knowshon could end up the Greatest Bronco to wear #27, but he's got a long way to go yet to be as great as....

Steve Atwater FS

Steve Atwater was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (20th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft. He spent 10 of his 11-year career as the Free Safety opposite Dennis Smith in one of the most ferocious Safety tandems in the history of the NFL. The "Smiling Assassin" started every game (155) he played in Denver. He was voted to a franchise-record seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1990-96 and trails only quarterback John Elway (9) for most Pro Bowls by a Bronco. Atwater, who finished his NFL career in 1999 with the New York Jets, recorded 24 career interceptions with the Broncos to rank 8th in team history. He twice led Denver in tackles (1993 and ’95) and posted 1,301 tackles (818 solo), five sacks (39 yds.), 89 pass breakups, 12 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries as a Broncos. Steve averaged 130 tackles per season as a Bronco.

Steve finished 2nd to Kansas City's Derrick Thomas in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting in 1989. The following year he made a name for himself on Monday Night Football. On September 18, 1990 at Mile High Stadium against the rival Kansas City Chiefs, Atwater floored Chiefs 253 pound "Nigerian Nightmare" Christian Okoye, a running back that made a living running over defenders. It was one of the greatest hits in NFL history and is still played on NFL Films to this day. This thunderous hit put Steve Atwater on the NFL map and is the most famous hit in Denver Broncos history. Before the game, Atwater was fitted with a wireless microphone to capture the sound of the shot.

Here are his major accomplishments

  • Football Digest NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • 4-Time all-Pro
  • Consensus All-NFL (1991, 1992)
  • 3-Time Super Bowl starter (XXIV, XXXII and XXXIII)
  • 2-Time Super Bowl Champion (XXXII and XXXIII)
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • Elected as the 20th member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame on October 9, 2005

MHR gives out a Mile High Salute to the "Smiling Assassin" Steve Atwater.

Go Broncos!