Before DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, the illustrious title of the Denver Broncos "sack master" belonged to Simon Fletcher. Fletcher was not known to be a flashy player. He did not make headlines off the field nor did he provide reporters with outrageous quotes or boastful claims. Simon Fletcher was just a quiet, hard working kid from Texas.
When Fletcher was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft, there were not to many lofty expectations for the young linebacker. Denver was excited to bring in the athletic pass rusher, but little did they know they had just drafted a future Ring of Fame member and an even better human being. Fletcher is still the Bronco's all-time sack leader with 97.5 career sacks and shares an NFL record (DeMarcus Ware) for most consecutive games with a sack at 10.
This past May, Simon Fletcher was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame, an honor that many fans felt was long overdue. After his induction into Broncos immortality, Fletcher sat down with Mile High Report to talk about his Broncos Ring of Fame induction, his relationship with the Broncos, and his life after football.
A Special Moment
On October 24, 2016 the Broncos welcomed back their former quarterback Brock Osweiler for a Monday night grudge match that the entire organization and fan base had been looking forward to. The Broncos were not done welcoming old friends back that night. During halftime, the Broncos held a ceremony inducting the newest members of the teams Ring of Fame.
Among the new inductees stood Simon Fletcher. At 6'5", Fletcher carries himself with the kind of quiet confidence that comes along with an 11-year career in a violent yet glorious line of work. Like many Bronco fans, Fletcher too believed this day should have come a lot sooner.
“I was surprised when I got the call, but I think it was a bit overdue,” Fletcher said. “After my career was over, I focused myself on being thankful about what I have in my life and what I have done. We can only control what we do, give it your absolute best and let the numbers take care of themselves.”
As one could imagine, it was a special night for Fletcher and his family.
“I looked up there and saw my name and it was a really proud moment for me,” Fletcher said of his Ring of Fame induction night. “I knew that anytime I bring my kids, grandkids or great grandkids to the stadium, our name will always be up there. They can all look up there and be proud of their name.”
A Bronco Forever, but Only From Afar
Despite the Fletcher name being forever enshrined at Sports Authority field, he does not make many appearances there or at the Broncos training facility.
“You won't find me at practice,” Fletcher said. “I'm engaged in my own life, my charities, and my family. I have a lot of love for a lot of people over there [at the Broncos organization]. John [Elway] was my quarterback and I have worked hand in hand with him many times. When I go there, it’s for my charities.”
While Fletcher keeps his space from the Broncos organization, that does not keep him from following and rooting for his guys in orange and blue. Especially those who now hold Fletcher's former job title as a Broncos sack master.
“I've always rooted for the guys who have come after me,” Fletcher said of the Broncos long history of solid pass rushers. “When Al Williams came, I congratulated him and wished him the best. Now with Von, we have a guy here who is really special. I believe Von has the chance to break Bruce's [Smith] record by the time he is done.”
When asked if he has a close relationship with Von or any other Broncos, Fletcher down played the relationship he keeps with current Bronco players.
“Von and I talk here and there and I'm happy to give him advice if he asks, but players have got to move on and stop living their glory days,” Fletcher explained. “It's their time, I had my time and now it is their time.”
Proudest Moments of His Career
Although he likes to downplay his own glory days, Simon Fletcher had an extraordinary career with many proud moments. What exactly was Fletcher's proudest moment?
“There are two moments that come to mind; the first, was a Monday night game against the Raiders,” recalled Fletcher. “My college coach, Bill Yeoman was in the stands. I wanted so bad to play well for him. There was a play where I was lined up at defensive end. I faked a pass rush then dropped into coverage and got my very first career interception on national television and Bill was there to see it all.”
Simon also mentioned a moment that came in the 1991 AFC playoffs when the Broncos hosted Fletcher's hometown team, the Houston Oilers.
“I had family in town all week,” Fletcher explained. “Sitting at my table, eating my food, and rooting for me to lose. That game, I sacked the great Warren Moon and we won 26-24. Dinner that night was pretty nice and quiet.”
Life After Football
After all the glitz and glamour of life in the NFL, Simon Fletcher has kept a relatively low profile while working on his new passion, giving back to the kids. Throughout the interview, Fletcher spoke of his records and the honor of playing in three Super Bowls, but never did he light up more than when he talked about his efforts in the community and the kids he helps through his charities.
“Football has been so good to me,” Fletcher said. “It has been the key that gets me in the door to speak to the kids in need. I want to motivate and inspire the kids because what they do now, the choices they make now, gives them a better chance to succeed later down the road.”
Fletcher spoke about a time where a fan wrote to him about a child with leukemia who needed money for treatment. Fletcher dropped what he was doing and rushed home to donate boxes full of memorabilia including the football from his first sack. A Bronco fan bought the ball and generously gave it back to Fletcher, but the story is a testament to how willing Fletcher is to help children in need.
“I don't need any trophies or memorabilia or anything like that,” Fletcher said. “I was there, I lived it. If something like that can help someone else who is need, then I am going to give it to them every single time.”
Grill Master Simon
When Simon Fletcher is not helping children in need, spending time with his beloved family or rooting for the Broncos, he still finds a way to serve the people of Colorado with yet another hobby of his, Texas style barbecue. Fletcher had owned and operated a local barbecue restaurant in Fort Morgan for several years. Unfortunately the restaurant has closed its doors, but Fletcher is currently working on starting his own Bronco-themed barbecue food truck so he can “travel all over this great state and personally thank all the wonderful fans in person”.
When the Broncos selected Simon Fletcher in the 1985 draft they thought they might get a pretty solid pass rusher, but what they did not count on was that second round pass rusher to become an all-time Broncos great and an even better member of our community. Simon Fletcher's name may be printed on the walls of the stadium, but it is what he has done after his career that we should admire the most.