The 2015 Denver Broncos showed a grit and toughness that fans hadn’t seen in a long time. It was those two qualities that led to the magical day in February when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50.
Now, there’s a new face for that grit and toughness, and he’s a 10-year-old.
On Friday, Grant Thornham attended Broncos training camp with some buddies. It hit the point in practice when Denver worked on special teams and Brandon McManus was kicking field goals.
Grant and his buddies found the ideal location to catch the balls on the grass hill behind the uprights. Did they ever. There was a McManus kick that was about to change Grant’s life forever.
McManus, as he’s prone to do, nailed his field goal and the ball was headed straight for Grant.
“I thought I could catch it but I had no idea how fast and hard it was coming,” Grant told me during practice on Sunday. “The ball bent (my wrist) back because it was really fast.”
Grant said his wrist hurt the rest of the day, and Grant’s dad Patrick knew it was bad when Grant couldn’t open a door on Friday night at their Denver home.
The result was a broken right wrist. Of course, Grant went with an orange cast with blue wrap underneath. He says he’ll be in it for four to six weeks.
In most cases when a kid breaks a bone, that’s the end of the story. It’s just a part of being a kid. Not for Grant. This wasn’t your typical broken bone.
The Broncos had Grant and his dad out at practice on Sunday for a tour and meet-and-greet with McManus and receiver Demaryius Thomas. Grant also got to meet Gary Kubiak when practice was over. Grant got an autographed football from McManus and he wanted the Broncos kicker to sign his cast.
“It feels weird because I’ve never broken a bone in my life,” Grant tells me while he wears a horse hat and orange Thomas jersey. “But it’s really, really cool. I came out to practice when I was younger, but I didn’t know what was going on. Now it’s cool to see all the players and I know what is going on.”
Of all the players Grant wanted to see, he was most excited for Von Miller. He said his favorite players are Miller, Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. He said he couldn’t pick a favorite out of those three.
Despite the new faces on offense, Grant is really confident about the team’s chances to repeat this season.
Sure hope it heals quickly. It was nice meeting you Grant https://t.co/lPvzaUfBbK— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) July 31, 2016
“It’s just a matter of when they do it that matters,” he says. “The defense is already great, I think the quarterbacks are the key. And I think Mark Sanchez will probably be the starter.”
From the second Grant and his dad walked out to the practice field, there was a huge smile on both of their faces. Those smiles didn’t go away over the course of the morning practice.
Grant was the star of the day.
“It feels really good,” he says. “I’ve never felt that way before. It’s been special.”
It’s a day Grant and his dad will never forget.
“It’s really cool to see it through his eyes because I grew up a Broncos fan as well,” Patrick tells me. “It’s a day to remember, that’s for sure.”