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Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: #28

Seventeen players have worn the #28 jersey in the history of the Denver Broncos franchise. Seven Running Backs, six Cornerbacks, two Safeties and two Defensive Backs. No one player really stands out, so let's look at them all one at a time and see what kind of case they make for themselves. Hopefully one player will stand out and make this an easy decision. Here are the candidates...

Correll Buckhalter RB 2009-Present
Michael Pittman RB 2008
Jeff Shoate CB 2007
Kenoy Kennedy S 2000-04
Tito Paul CB 1998
Clifford Hicks CB 1995
Butler By’not’e RB 1994
Gaston Green RB 1991-92
Elliot Smith CB 1990
Jeremiah Castille CB 1987-88
Scott Caldwell RB 1987
Roger Jackson DB 1982-85
Cornell Gordon CB 1970-72
Jack Lentz S 1967-68
Abner Haynes HB 1965-66
Billy Atkins DB 1964
Bobby Gaiters HB 1963

Bobby Gaiters was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (1st overall) of the 1961 AFL Draft and the New York Giants in the 1961 NFL Draft. He played two seasons in the NFL, spending time with the Giants and San Francisco 49ers. He finished his career in 1963 with the Broncos of the AFL. Bobby appeared in 6 games, with 9 carries for 20 yards and one 74 yard touchdown catch. He also returned 11 Kickoffs for a 20.5 yard average.

Billy Atkins was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 5th round (59th overall) of the 1958 NFL Draft. He played for the 49ers in the NFL, and in the AFL for the Buffalo Bills, the New York Titans/Jets, and the Denver Broncos. Billy was a Pro Bowler in 1961. Atkins appeared in 3 games for the Broncos in 1964 and did not record any stats.

Abner Haynes was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 5th round (55th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. Haynes spent three years in Dallas and two with same franchise when it became the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the AFL's 1st MVP, and its 1st Rookie of the Year, with the Dallas Texans in 1960. In 1962, he helped the Texans win the AFL Championship in the classic double-overtime victory over the 2-time defending champion Houston Oilers. At the time it was the longest professional football championship game ever played. In that game, Haynes scored touchdowns on a 28-yard pass reception from quarterback Len Dawson, and on a 2-yard run. Obtained from the Chiefs for Linebacker/Punter Jim Fraser, Abner was one of the greatest stars in AFL history. His 12,065 combined yards rushing, receiving and kick returning is the AFL record. Haynes was an AFL All-Star in 1960, 1961, 1962, and 1964. He is also 2nd team, All-Time All-AFL and a member of the AFL Hall of Fame.

Abner played the 1965-66 seasons in Denver and appeared in 28 games. He rushed for 470 yards and 5 touchdowns on 170 carries. He added 72 receptions for 696 yards and 3 touchdowns. Haynes fumbled 16 times in those two seasons too. On Special Teams, he returned 24 punts for 470 yards and 1 touchdown, a 10.0 average. He also returned 43 Kickoffs with a 26.3 average. In 1965, Haynes led the league with 34 Kickoff Returns for 901 yards and a 26.5 average.

Jack Lentz was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 16th round (399th overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He started 7 of 26 games at Right Safety for the Broncos during 1967-68. He made 5 interceptions and Recovered 2 Fumbles.

Cornell Gordon was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 16th round (211th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft and the New York Jets in the 23rd round (179th overall) of the 1964 AFL Draft. He played for 5 years in New York, winning a Super Bowl Ring with them (SB III) before joining the Broncos from 1970-72. In his 3 seasons as a Bronco, Gordon started 14 of 29 games at Left Cornerback, making 5 interceptions.

Roger Jackson signed with the Broncos in 1982 as a defensive back, and played five seasons in Denver. He started 3 of 50 games wearing #28, with one Sack and 2 interceptions. Roger spent a total of 18 years in the NFL, including his 13 years as a scout. Roger scouted for the Minnesota Vikings for (9) years, Kansas City Chiefs for (2) years, and the Denver Broncos for (2) years. After his retirement, Roger returned to his hometown of Macon, Georgia and founded Motivating Youth Foundation, Inc. (MOYO), an after-school program that serves students from over 25 public schools in the area.

Scott Caldwell started 1 of 3 games for Denver in 1987. He had 16 carries for 53 yards and 4 catches for 34 yards. Caldwell picked up $9,000 as a replacement player for the Broncos during the players' strike. Scott also pocketed another $9,000 as part of the loser's share in Super Bowl XXII.

Jeremiah Castille was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 3rd round (72nd overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He played 4 years in Tampa Bay and his last 2 in Denver (1987-88). Jeremiah started 15 of 27 games for the Broncos, recording 3 interceptions at Right Cornerback. He might best be remembered for a key play in a historic game for the Broncos. During the 1987 AFC Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns, Castille stripped the ball from Browns' running back Earnest Byner in a play called "The Fumble". He also recorded an interception in Super Bowl XXII.

Elliot Smith was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 5th round (120th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft. He played 2 games for the Chargers before coming to Denver. In 1990, Elliot started 3 of his 9 games with the Broncos, recovering one Fumble.

Gaston Green was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1st round (14th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played 3 years in Miami and finished his last 2 seasons for the Broncos, starting 25 of 27 games. Green had 1,625 yards on 422 carries, with 6 touchdowns and 23 catches for 157 yards. He also returned 5 Kickoffs for 76 yards. Gaston's lone Pro Bowl appearance came in 1991, his first year in Denver when he rushed for 1,037 yards with a 4.0 average.

Butler By’not’e was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 7th round (212th overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft. He played 9 games for the Broncos in 1994, returning 24 Kickoffs an average of 22,7 yards. He played one more year in his career with the Carolina Panthers and was last seen playing for NFL Europe's Barcelona Dragons in 1997.

Clifford Hicks was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 3rd round (74th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played for the Rams (4 yrs), Buffalo Bills (3 yrs) and the New York Jets (2 yrs) before joining the Broncos for the 1995 season. Hicks appeared in 6 games and did not record a stat.

Tito Paul was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 5th round (167th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played backup Cornerback for 3 years in Arizona and another in Cincinnati before coming to Denver in 1998. Tito appeared in 6 games as a Bronco. The only play he completed was a Fair Catch on a Punt. Pail is now an insurance agent in Delaware, Ohio.

Jeff Shoate
was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round (152nd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft and was on the Broncos' roster for the entire 2004 season. Shoate then missed all of the 2005 season while on injured reserve before being waived by the Broncos after the 2006 preseason. He was re-signed to the Broncos' practice squad, where he spent the whole 2006 season until being re-signed to a futures contract on January 6, 2007. Shoate began the 2007 season on the Broncos' roster but was released on December 4, 2007. He was also on the Practice Squads of the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants and New England Patriots. He earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Giants' Practice Squad in Super Bowl XLII. In 7 games, Jeff made 8 tackles for the Broncos.

Michael Pittman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th round (95th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played there 4 years and went to Tampa Bay for 6 years and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers (XXXVII) before joining the Broncos as a Free Agent in 2008 at 33 years old. The Broncos moved Michael to fullback. Cornerback Dré Bly was already wearing #32, so Pittman was assigned #28. In 8 games (3 starts) during the 2008 season, Pittman rushed 76 times for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve after sustaining a neck injury during Week 8. In August 2009, Pittman signed with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL.

Correll Buckhalter was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 4th round (121st overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft. He played there for 5 seasons, missing the 2002, 2004 and 2005 seasons due to knee injuries. Buckhalter has shown resilience, playing at least 14 games during each of the last 4 seasons. He was the Eagles Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2003. On February 27, 2009, Buckhalter signed a 4-year deal with the Broncos. That year, his 9th in the NFL, Buckhalter achieved career highs in rushing yardage (642), yards per carry (5.4), and receptions (31). In fact, his 5.1-yard rushing average during the last 3 seasons ranks 7th in the NFL. Corell has had 22 rushes of at least 20 yards for his career, including 5 such runs in each of the last two seasons. C-Buck has two more years on his contract and has been a solid contributor, sharing rushing duties with Knowshon Moreno.

Well it wasn't easy, but one player stood out just a little bit more than the others. Gaston Green's 1,000 yard season was taken into account and Correll Buckhalter stands out. Jeremiah Castille's devastating hit causing "The Fumble" makes him the runner up, but causing a Rule change in the NFL along with better statistics and longevity with the team.

That's why the Greatest Bronco to wear #28 is...

Kenoy Kennedy S

Kenoy Kennedy was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round (45th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. He played five seasons with the team before becoming a free agent in 2005. During this time, he is best known for obliterating Chris Chambers of the Miami Dolphins - a hit that led to the eventual banning of leading with one's helmet during a hit. Kenoy started 59 of 73 games as the Broncos Strong Safety. He accounted for 289 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 4 interceptions, 3 Forced Fumbles and 2 Recoveries. Kennedy signed with the Detroit Lions in the 2005 offseason. He played 3 years with them before his release in March, 2008.

MHR gives a Mile High Salute to Kenoy Kennedy as the Greatest Bronco to wear #28.

Go Broncos!