There were twenty-one players that wore #33 in Denver Broncos history. Twelve Running Backs, three Fullbacks, two Cornerbacks, two Safeties, a Linebacker and a Quarterback make up the list of candidates for this accolade.
Fred Bukaty played 14 games at Fullback for the Broncos in 1961. He rushed for 187 yards and 5 touchdowns on 76 carries and caught 14 passes for 94 yards. Fred also returned 3 kickoffs 41 yards.
Hub Lindsey played 3 games for the Broncos in 1968, rushing for 17 yards on 4 carries.
Willis Crenshaw was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 9th round (114th overall) of the 1963 NFL Draft and the Buffalo Bills in the 26th round (204th overall) of the 1963 AFL Draft. He played 6 years with the Cards before coming to Denver in 1970. Crenshaw started all 12 games at Fullback for the Broncos that year. He rushed for 200 yards and 5 touchdowns on 68 carries and had 18 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Joe Dawkins was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 10th round (249th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He started 19 of 36 games in his 3 years for the Broncos. Dawkins rushed for 949 yards and 4 touchdowns on 216 carries, a 4.4 average. He caught 48 passes for 571 yards as well as returning 27 kickoffs for a 22.7 average. In 1972, Joe led the NFL in yards per touch with a 9.5 average. Dawkins went on to play 2 seasons with the New York Giants before returning to Houston for a farewell tour.
Jim Kiick was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 5th round (118th overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft. A 2-time Pro Bowler (1968-69) and 2-time Super Bowl champion (VII, VIII), Kiick also played in SB VI and was a member of the Dolphins undefeated 1972 team. That year, Jim lost his starting role to Mercury Morris in training camp. In 1975, Kiick played for the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League. However, 12 games into their 18-game schedule, the league folded. After that, Jim played 17 games as a back-up with the Broncos in 1976 and 1977. He had 115 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries and caught 12 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. He was released during the 1977 regular season and missed out on Super Bowl XII. Not only that, but on that same day, his house burned down and he got divorced. He played one game for the Washington Redskins in 1977 season, and then retired.
Lonnie Perrin was drafted by the Broncos in the 5th round (139th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. He played for 3 years in Denver then the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins in 1979 to close out his NFL career. Lonnie wore #35 in 1976 and 1977, but switched to #33 in 1978. That year, he played in all 16 games as the starting Kick Returner and 2nd string Fullback. Still, he rushed for 455 yards and 4 touchdowns on 108 carries, a 4.2 average and caught 10 passes for 54 yards and another touchdown. Perrin had 12 kick returns for a 21.3 yard average.
Lawrence McCutcheon was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 3rd round (70th overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler with the Rams from 1973-77. He appeared in 7 playoff games including Super Bowl XIV. In 1975 McCutcheon established a Postseason record by rushing for 202 yards on 37 carries in a playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 1980 Super Bowl, he threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith. After 8 seasons in Los Angeles, Lawrence split the 1980 season playing 8 games for the Seattle Seahawks and six with the Broncos. McCutcheon carried the ball 12 times for 52 yards and had one 12-yard catch. In 1981, he finished his career with the Buffalo Bills, reuniting with former coach Chuck Knox.
Tony Dorsett was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the 2nd overall pick of the 1977 NFL Draft. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler & 1-time First-Team All-Pro and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dorsett had a career total of 12,033 yards in Dallas before being traded to the Denver Broncos in 1988 for a conditional 5th-round draft choice. He led the Broncos with 703 yards and 5 touchdowns that year, but injuries prior to the 1989 season led to his retirement.
Robert Perryman was drafted by the New England Patriots in the 3rd round (79th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played six seasons in the National Football League, four for the New England Patriots and two for the Denver Broncos. Perryman was waived by New England after he and 2 teammates were fined by the NFL for sexual harassment involving a female reporter. Picked up by the Broncos in 1990, Robert started 8 of 19 games, with 44 yards on 24 carries and 19 catches for 186 yards. He returned in 1991 and is now the Assistant Coach of the Boston Militia in the Independent Women's Football League.
Rod Bernstine was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round (24th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played there for 6 seasons before joining the Broncos in 1993. Rod had his best year in the NFL that season, rushing for 816 yards and catching 44 passes. All total, Bernstine had 983 yards and 5 touchdowns on 263 carries and 58 receptions for 496 yards while starting 20 of 21 games.
Dedrick Dodge started his pro career as a London Monarch of the World League of American Football. From there he made his way to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, where he played 2 seasons before moving to San Francisco and playing with the Niners for 3 years. He made it to Denver for the 1997 season where he started 1 of 16 games, made 7 Tackles and recovered one Fumble. Dedrick has 3 pro football championship rings. One as a member of the San Francisco 49ers (SB XXIX), one with the Broncos (SB XXXII) and one with the Monarchs in the initial season of the WLAF (World Bowl).
John Avery was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 1st round (29th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. After 17 games in Miami, Avery was traded to the Broncos for wide receiver Marcus Nash in September, 1999. He played in 5 games, rushing for 21 yards on 5 carries, 4 catches for 24 yards and 7 kick returns for 137 yards, a 19.6 yard average. John was released in training camp the following season. Avery went on to play with the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL (2001), the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL (2002), the Minnesota Vikings (2003) and back to the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts from 2004-2007. He won a Grey Cup championship with the Argonauts in 2004.
Jimmy Spencer was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 8th round (215th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft. He played for the New Orleans Saints (1992-1995), the Cincinnati Bengals (1996-97) and the San Diego Chargers (1998-99) before coming to Denver. From 2000 to 2003, Spencer started 9 of 53 games. He made 81 Tackles, 1 Sack, 6 interceptions--2 for touchdowns, Forced one Fumble and Recovered 2. Jimmy's best seasons were 1994 through 1996, when he was a member of the Saints and the Bengals.
Ron Dayne was drafted by the New York Giants in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. The 1999 Heisman Trophy winner played in New York for 4 years before signing a 1-year deal with the Broncos in 2005. Ron filled in for the injured Tatum Bell and ran for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Broncos re-signed Dayne in the offseason. He was named starter in the 2006 pre-season, but fell on the depth chart as Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided upon Tatum and Mike Bell for the Broncos rushing attack. The pre-season went on and He was released as part of the final cuts on September 2, 2006. The Texans claimed Dayne off waivers the following day and he played in Houston for the 2006–2007 seasons. Ron appeared in 10 games in Denver, with 270 yards and 1 touchdown on 53 carries and 2 catches for 17 yards.
Marquand Manuel was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 6th round (181st overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers before signing with the Broncos as an Unrestricted Free Agent prior to the 2008 season. Marquand started 14 of 16 games for the Broncos, with 83 tackles and 4 passes defensed. Manuel finished his career as a Detroit Lion in 1999.
Alphonso Smith was drafted by the Broncos in the 2nd round (37th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. The Broncos traded their 1st round pick in 2010 in order to select him. The Phonz appeared in 15 games with the Broncos in 2009, making 12 Tackles, 3 pass defenses, one Forced Fumble and one Recovery. He also returned 10 punts for a 4.7 average and 4 kickoffs for an 18.8 average. The Broncos (read Josh McDaniels) gave up on Smith and on September 4th, 2010, Alphonso was traded to the Detroit Lions for TE Dan Gronkowski. It remains to be seen if Smith turns out to be a bust since he has produced some for Detroit, but it was certainly a mistake for the Broncos to reach for him.
Nate Jones was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 7th round (205th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played 4 years in Dallas and then two more with the Miami Dolphins. Nate joined the Broncos as an Unrestricted Free Agent in March of 2010. He was brought in to play the Nickel Cornerback spot and be the utility back in the Broncos secondary after the club gave up on Alphonso Smith. Jones started 3 of 16 games at both Safety and Cornerback last year, making 52 Tackles and 3 pass defenses.
This one was tough. Six of these players were close in their stats and time of service. Nevertheless, I had to make a choice.
Gene Lang was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 11th round (298th overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. He played 4 years in Denver and 3 years as an Atlanta Falcon. Lang started 10 of his 55 games with the Broncos, rushing 210 times for 757 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 57 passes for 439 yards and 7 touchdowns. Gene returned 61 kickoffs for 1,323 yards, a 21.7 average. More than just a "Plugger," Gene Lang was 9th in the NFL in yards per touch in 1985 and in 1986, he was 7th in the league with a 22.9 kick return average.
MHR gives a Mile High Salute to Gene Lang.