Twenty players wore the #86 jersey for the Denver Broncos in the history of the franchise. Eleven Wide Receivers, seven Tight Ends, a Defensive End and an Offensive End. As I have done in the past, there are three players at the end of the story for you to choose from for this honor. I will make my choice and we shall see if you agree. Here is the lineup.
Edell Shepherd WR 2008
Brian Clark WR 2007
Patrick Hape TE 2001-04
Byron Chamberlain TE 1995-2000
Jeff Campbell WR 1994
Arthur Marshall WR 1992-93
Barry Johnson WR 1991
Chris Verhulst TE 1990
Pat Kelly TE 1988
Mitch Andrews TE 1987
Butch Johnson WR 1984-85
Dean Barnett TE 1983
Emery Moorehead WR 1980
John Schultz WR 1978
Marv Frazier WR 1973-75
Jim Krieg WR 1972
Jerry Hendren WR 1970
Bobby Moten TE 1968
Stan Fanning DE 1964
Don Carothers E 1960
Don Carothers was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 10th round (118th overall) of the 1957 NFL Draft. He played one year for the Broncos in 1960. He appeared in 3 games and caught 2 passes for 25 yards.
Stan Fanning was drafted by the Bears in the 11th round (128th overall) of the 1960 NFL Draft. His term in Chicago lasted 3 years. From there, Fanning played with the Los Angeles Rams. He began the 1964 season with the Houston Oilers, playing in 5 games. Stan joined the Broncos for the remaining 7 games of the year and did not record any official stats.
Bobby Moten was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 9th round (215th overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft. He played in 3 games for the Broncos in 1968.
Jerry Hendren was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 4th round (89th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He played 10 games for the Broncos that year, returning 8 kickoffs for 197 yards, a 24.6 average.
Jim Krieg was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round (118th overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft. He played in 6 games during the 1972 campaign, catching 4 passes for 99 yards, ran for 63 yards on 1 carry, returned one punt 3 yards and one kickoff for 18 yards.
Marv Frazier played Wide Receiver for the Broncos from 1973-75. He played college ball at Cheyney State (Pennsylvania). I could find no other evidence of his existence.
John Schultz went Undrafted out of Maryland. In 1976, he became a Bronco and wore #84 for his rookie year. He switched to #86 for the 1977-78 seasons and played in 18 games. Schultz returned one punt 11 yards and 6 kickoffs 135 yards, a 22.5 average.
Emery Moorehead was drafted by the New York Giants in the 6th round (153rd overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft. He played with the Giants for 3 seasons, joining the Broncos in 1980. That year, Emery appeared in all 16 games and carried the ball twice for 7 yards. He also returned a kickoff 18 yards. Moorehead moved on at the end of the season to Chicago. He stayed with the Bears for another 8 years before retiring at the end of the 1988 season.
Dean Barnett was signed by the Broncos as an Undrafted Free Agent out of UNLV in 1983. He played in 8 games that year.
Mitch Andrews was an Undrafted Free Agent out of LSU. He signed with the Broncos in 1987 and started 3 of 8 games at Tight End. Mitch caught 4 passes for 53 yards and no touchdowns.
Pat Kelly was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round (174th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played 2 years in Denver in two different jerseys. In Pat's rookie season, he wore #86, played in all 16 games and had 1 reception for 4 yards. 1989 saw a switch to #87 and the same results. He played with the New York Jets from 1990-91 before retiring.
Chris Verhulst was drafted by the Oilers in the 5th round (130th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played 2 years in Houston and then came to Denver in 1990, his only season with the Broncos. Verhulst started 1 of 11 games at Tight End, with 3 catches for 13 yards.
Barry Johnson was an Undrafted Free Agent out of Maryland who played in 4 games for the Broncos in 1991 and caught a 13-yard pass.
Jeff Campbell was drafted by the Lions in the 5th round (118th overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft. He played 4 seasons in Detroit before joining the Broncos in 1994. Campbell started 1 of 16 games and had a 22-yard touchdown catch. He ran for 6 yards on two carries, returned 3 kickoffs for 24 yards and recovered a Fumble.
Brian Clark was an Undrafted Free Agent out of North Carolina State, who signed with the Broncos in 2006. He wore #19 that year and made the switch to #86 in 2007. Clark played in 4 games for the Broncos that season. He had 3 kickoff returns for a 23.3 average, caught 4 passes for 23 yards and Fumbled twice. Brian finished 2007 in Tampa Bay, where he played one game, then stayed with the Buccaneers through 2009 before moving to Detroit for the 2010 season. Clark currently plays for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League.
Edell Shepherd was signed by the Chicago Bears as an Undrafted Free Agent out of San Jose State in 2002. He spent the first month of the season on the Bears’ practice squad before being allotted to the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. Edell was also a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003, 2005) and the Houston Texans (2006). Shepherd was on the offseason roster of the Detroit Lions in 2007. He was also on the Broncos offseason roster in 2008, nut was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve in July with a torn ACL. He is currently a Free Agent.
Michael "Butch" McColly Johnson was drafted by the Cowboys in the 3rd round (87th overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. He played 8 years in Dallas and won a Super Bowl Ring before coming to the Broncos in 1984. Butch spent two seasons in Denver and started 17 of 32 games. He caught 61 passes for 967 yards, a 15.9 average and 9 touchdowns. He also had one carry for 3 yards and a Fumble. In Super Bowl XII, Johnson caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach. In Super Bowl XIII he scored another touchdown becoming only the 2nd player to score touchdowns in back-to-back Super Bowls. Butch had a touchdown celebration known as the "California Quake". He would simulate pulling guns out of holsters and proceed to shoot them and shake.
Arthur Marshall was signed by the Broncos in 1992 as an Undrafted Free Agent out of Georgia. He played 2 seasons (1992-93) and started 10 of 32 games in Denver. Arthur caught 54 passes for 853 yards, a 15.8 average and 3 touchdowns. He rushed for 56 yards on 11 carries, Fumbled 3 times and recovered one. Marshall had the best passing stats for any Bronco. He was 2 for 2 for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns, an 81-yarder to Cedric Tillman during Week 14 in 1992 and a 30-yarder to Derek Russell during Week 5 in 1993. On the Special Teams Unit, Arthur returned 33 Punts for a 10.6 average and 8 Kickoffs for a 16.5 average. Marshall played 3 seasons with the New York Giants after leaving the Broncos.
On June 16, 2010, Marshall was sentenced to 69 months imprisonment, pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud last for defrauding banks in the Augusta area of over $3 million in mortgage loans.
Patrick Hape was drafted by the Buccaneers in the 5th round (137th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. He spent 4 years in Tampa Bay and joined the Broncos in 2001, where he spent another 4 seasons. From 2001-04, Patrick started 13 of 63 games at Tight End and Fullback. He only carried the ball twice for no yards, but he caught 32 passes for 187 yards and 9 touchdowns. Hape also returned a Kickoff 16 yards. Patrick was known for his versatility, outstanding blocking, durability, reliability near the goal line and his ability to play the H-Back position. His career high in receptions came in 2001 when he had 15 catches for 96 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first year with the Broncos. Hape also scored the very first regular season touchdown at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Byron Chamberlain was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round (222nd overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played 6 years in Denver from 1995-2000 as the 2nd option at Tight End. He played in Minnesota for 2 seasons and Washington for one. In 73 games with the Broncos, Chamberlain had 72 receptions for 964 yards, a 13.4 average, 3 touchdowns and 2 Fumbles primarily as a back-up to Shannon Sharpe. Byron credits Sharpe for much of his success.
"He's been an integral part of my success in my career, from being me around 10 years. I basically learned everything about the tight end position from him. He taught me how to be a professional and how to be a successful tight end in this league."
Byron won two Super Bowl Championship Rings with the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII. Byron's most productive year was in 2001 with the Vikings. He caught 57 passes for 666 yards, an 11.7 average, 3 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl selection.
He runs the Byron Chamberlain Foundation, which was established to help "break the cycle" of negative effects that poverty has on today's youth. The foundation's focus is on developing community based programs that serve the educational, social and physical needs of those residing in the inner city communities as well as raise awareness about several health and social concerns that threaten under-served communities.
So we have Arthur Marshall--2 seasons, 3rd Receiver numbers, untouchable passing stats and a good punt returner. Patrick Hape--4 seasons, excellent blocker and versatile player that was an outstanding locker room presence and the 1st player to score a touchdown at Invesco. Byron Chamberlain--6 seasons, 72 catches and two Rings as a backup behind a Hall of Fame player. For me, the choice is Chamberlain. What is your choice?