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Denver Broncos Greats... By The Numbers: #79

Ten players wore #79 for the Denver Broncos in franchise history. Five Offensive Guards, three Defensive Ends and two Defensive Tackles. Let's get right to the candidates. Bring on the Beefcake!

Marcus Thomas DT 2007-10
Steve Herndon LG 2001-03
Chris Banks G 1998-99
Jumpy Geathers DT 1996
Dave Widell LG 1990-94
Stefan Humphries RG 1987-88
Steve Bryan LB/DE 1987
Barney Chavous DE 1973-85
Carter Campbell DE 1971
John Gonzaga RG 1966

John Gonzaga is one of the few guys in NFL history who did not play college football. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1956-59, the Dallas Cowboys in 1960 and the Detroit Lions from 1961-65. In 1966, John joined the AFL Denver Broncos, starting 11 games at Right Guard.

Carter Campbell was drafted by the 49ers in the 8th round (191st overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He played that year in San Francisco and joined the Broncos in 1971. Campbell started 2 of 14 games and moved on to play for the New York Giants in 1972.

Steve Bryan was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 5th round (120th overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft. He started 3 of 4 games with the Broncos as a replacement player during the 1987 NFL Player Strike. He played one more year in Denver, but with a different number on his back.

Stefan Humphries was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 3rd round (71st overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. He played in Chicago up until 1987, when he became a Bronco. Stefan started 8 of 8 games at Right Guard for the Broncos in 1987-88.

Chris Banks was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round (226th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft. He played 2 years for Denver from 1998-99, starting 1 of 20 games.

James Allen "Jumpy" Geathers was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 2nd round (42nd overall) of the 1984 NFL Draft. He spent 6 years with the Saints and ended up in Washington for the 1990 season. Geathers spent 3 seasons as a Redskin before moving on to Atlanta for another 3 year stint. Jumpy came to Denver in 1996 for his final NFL season. He played sparingly in all 16 games that year, tallying 16 Tackles and 5 Sacks for the Broncos.

Steve Herndon was signed by the Broncos as an Undrafted Free agent out of Georgia in 2001. He played 3 seasons in Denver from 2001-03. Herndon started 12 of 22 games at Left Guard for the Broncos.

Dave Widell was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 4th round (94th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played in Dallas for two years before joining his brother Doug on the Broncos in 1990. Dave played 5 seasons with the Broncos from 1990-94. He played all across the Denver Offensive Line and was the exclusive starter at Left Guard in 1993 and Center in 1994. Widell started 39 of 79 games and Fumbled 2 snaps during his time in Denver. In 1995, Dave became a part of the inaugural roster for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 1998, his last year, Dave reunited with coach Dan Reeves in Atlanta and was a part of the Falcons' Super Bowl XXXIII loss to his former team.

Marcus Thomas

Marcus Thomas was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round (121st overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. He has started 23 of 64 games at Defensive Tackle for the Broncos up to the present. He has made 104 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 interceptions, 3 Pass deflections, one Forced Fumble and a Fumble Recovery. Marcus has also returned one kickoff 1 yard.

  • Joined Rubin Carter as the only two interior Defensive Linemen in Team history to play every game during his first 3 Pro seasons.
  • 2nd - Career interceptions by a Defensive Linemen (2)
  • 2008 - Led the Broncos’ Defensive Line in Tackles (57)
  • 2009 - Had the 1st blocked extra point by a Bronco in 5 seasons (Week 11) every game during his first 3 Pro seasons.

Although the Broncos extended a Restricted Free Agent tender to the four-year veteran, they expect him to test the market when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached.

This was another relatively easy choice. The Greatest Bronco to wear #79 is...

Barney Chavous

Barney Chavous was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2nd round (36th overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft. He played his entire 13-year career as a Bronco from 1973-85. Barney was the anchor at Left Defensive End, starting 178 of 183 games on the Line. Chavous recovered 8 Fumbles, returned one for a touchdown and recorded a Safety as a stalwart of the Orange Crush Defense. He was part of the Broncos first Super Bowl Team in 1977.

A few years after retiring, Barney became the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach in 1989 and a Defensive Assistant from 1990-94. From 1995-99, he was the Assistant Offensive Line/Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach, earning Rings in the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII Championships.

Chavous is currently the head football coach at T.W. Josey High School in Augusta, Georgia and is the uncle of former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Corey Chavous.

Team Achievements
  • 4th-Most Seasons (13)
  • 8th-Most Games Played (182)
  • 4th-Most Games Started (177) Tied with Tom Jackson
  • 3rd-Most Career Sacks (75)
  • 2nd-Most Multi-Sack Games (16)
  • 4th-Most Consecutive Games With a Sack (6)
  • 4-Sacks in one Game (Seattle, 12/21/80) Tied with 4 others

MHR gives a Mile High Salute to Barney Chavous as the Greatest Bronco to wear #79.

Go Broncos!