Good morning, Broncos Country!
Garett Bolles was lost.
He was 19 and had just been kicked to the curb like yesterday’s trash by his father, Grove. As Thomas George wrote in a SB Nation story prior to the NFL Draft, was it disrespect? Drugs? The wrong crowd?
“All of that, and much more,” Bolles told George. “I was a lost kid.”
Since Bolles was selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round a little over a week ago, we’ve heard a lot about the pick and what it means for the organization. What it means for the offensive line. For the offense. We’ve heard how much people initially didn’t like the Broncos selection of Bolles, but have since come around. We’ve heard that he carries a big “bust” potential. Some still flat hate the pick. As I said in my column shortly after the pick, there’s way too much we don’t know to make bold proclamations one way or the other. Let’s give it some time.
What we haven’t really heard in the Mile High Report community is how Bolles got here and what he’s overcome to do so. When you hear that story you get a new appreciation for who Bolles is, how honest he is and what he’ll do to make the best of this incredible situation. You’ll see he’ll do whatever it takes, because that defines his life.
The initial light Bolles needed to lead him out of the darkness came when he was 19 from Greg and Emily Freeman. They took Bolles off the streets but gave him strict rules and lofty expectations. Emily told the Salt Lake Tribune in August of last year that she thought Bolles would last a few weeks before they would kick him to the curb, too. She said Greg thought Bolles would last three days.
After being drafted by the @Broncos, @gbolles74 was surprised with a heartfelt video message from his family.— NFL (@NFL) April 29, 2017
So many feels. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/bBrtWaAmhx
Even then people didn’t think much of Bolles. If they had expectations, it was that he would continue to fail. He had to prove the Freemans wrong, and he was determined to do it. What he needed was one more person to believe him, to give him that push to change.
As George wrote in his story, something then clicked in Bolles.
“God changed me,” Bolles said.
George asked him, “from what to what?”
“From old to new,” Bolles told George. “From someone I didn’t even recognize anymore. My life was crazy. Adversity changed me.”
As George wrote:
After moving in with the Freemans, Bolles traveled for missionary work, enrolled at Snow Junior College in Ephraim, Utah, where he played football, transferred and starred at Utah for one season, married Natalie, had a four-month-old son Kingston, patched things with his father and is here at the draft, a prime, practical, likely first-round pick.
The change in Bolles was obvious and teams took notice. That was evident when John Elway used his No. 20 pick to bring him to the Broncos. But it also was clear before the draft.
As one NFL head coach told George in the days leading up to the annual event:
"I met with Garett Bolles at the combine and I was so blown away with him that we had him in for a visit afterward. We had no initial plans to do the follow-up. But he left us no choice. And he came in here and we saw more of what we first saw. This is what you want in a football player, a guy who’s been through some things who is tough. I am a total believer in his change and in his ability. I don’t know if he is going to fall to us, but we have our radar way up for him in this draft.’’
Elway and the Broncos took a chance on Bolles. He’s out to prove Elway and the organization was right to do so.
“I’m a big teddy bear off the field, so I definitely love Mr. Elway,” Bolles said in his initial news conference with the organization. “He took a chance on me when a lot of teams passed me up and he believed in me. All I needed was one team to fall in love with me and that’s exactly what the Denver Broncos organization did. They fell in love with me and that’s what it took.
“Like I said, I did say I love you because I appreciated what he did. He could’ve chosen a lot of other people, but he chose me to come in and make a big impact with this great organization. That’s what I plan on doing. I told him that I’m not going to let him down. I’m going to work my butt off to get what he wants out of me, and that’s a promise.”
Ok, I'm starting to LOVE Garrett Bolles and his "Nasty Prick" which he will use to knock guys into the dirt. pic.twitter.com/L0KP9H6GXH— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) April 28, 2017
What sold me even more on Bolles is his violent attitude on the field. He wants to kick the shit out of you, knock you to the ground and then do it all over again. That comes from his start in football when he played defensive tackle. Bolles takes that same approach to the offensive line, and it will impact his fellow line mates. It’s an attitude Denver’s offensive line hasn’t had since Tom Nalen retired.
“If you watch the Hogs and the Washington Redskins back in the day, those were guys who were mean machines, and that’s what it takes to be an offensive lineman,” he said. “You want to be like those guys, and that’s what Mr. Elway teaches. He wants tough guys that come in here and get the job done and hold up front. That’s where it starts, is in the trenches, and we have a great group of guys here.
“There’s a lot of great talent here, and I’m just excited to work with them. It’s not just me who’s going to come and make an impact. It’s all five of us working together as one to get what we need to go to another Super Bowl because that’s what we plan on doing here.”
Life has a way of coming full circle.
For Bolles, Greg and Emily Freeman gave him the initial light he needed to find his way. They gave him the chance but he had to do it on his own. It took a lot of dedication and hard work, but he proved them right.
Garrett Bolles with the Freeman family (Whom he calls his parents), his wife and baby Kingston. #Broncos #UtahUtes @utahathletics pic.twitter.com/zICTeOPefJ— Sam Farnsworth (@SamFarnsworth11) April 28, 2017
Now Bolles is out to do it all over again, just now it’s on the football field in the NFL for the Broncos. With everything he’s overcome to make this happen, there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again. As Bolles has done since he was 19, he’s thrived when people doubt him.
“They’re here with me today and I love them dearly,” Bolles said about the Freemans. “I get emotional when I talk about that family because they mean the world to me. Years ago when they picked me off the streets in 2011, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized what a family is, what love is and how a structured family is. That’s how I want to raise my son, and how I want my wife to raise my son. They’re great parents and they always will be my parents. I reach out to them all the time.
“They’re going to be here with me, they’re only eight hours away, so anytime I need something they’re going to be here for me. They always will be for the rest of my life. They’re a safe place where I can call my mom and dad, and I love them dearly. I give them so much credit for me being able to reach my dreams and to stand in front of you all today.”
Sacco Sez: Red Miller began Broncos' high standard
Before Red Miller arrived in Denver, the Broncos had little standard for success.
The greatest Ring of Fame classes in Denver Broncos history
Red Miller’s will be the 20th different class to be inducted. Out of all those great players and contributors to the franchise, which class is the greatest?
Bronco notes: McGovern working at center, Bolles and Roby update | 9news.com
ENGLEWOOD - Matt Paradis played every Denver Broncos offensive snap last season and Connor McGovern played zero.
Denver Broncos players are fired up about Jamaal Charles joining team | The Kansas City Star
A number of Denver Broncos players have commented about the signing of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to reporters or on social media. They are excited about their new teammate.
Denver Broncos season-ticket holders outraged over losing seats
Team says pulling licenses of people who resold all their tickets last year means others get an upgrade and some come off the waiting list.
Cutler retrospective: Fallout with McDaniels started Broncos successful run | 9news.com
There is not one Broncos fan who is going to like reading this, but Josh McDaniels was right.
Here are the 4 players the Broncos got in the Jay Cutler trade | Broncos Wire
Here are the four players that the Denver Broncos got in exchange for trading Jay Culter to the Chicago Bears in 2008. It's underwhelming.
AFC West Tracks
If healthy, Chargers can win AFC West
Staying healthy will be a big key for the Chargers; the defense should be stronger with all of its parts ready to go for a full season.
Second-round draft gamble paid off for the Chargers - LA Times
Patience pays off for the Chargers in their first NFL draft as a Los Angeles franchise.
Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Mike Williams and the “Moss Drill” - Bolts From The Blue
There are two traits that separate the upper echelon receivers of the NFL from the hundreds of other receivers. The first thing is that they’re reliable.
KC Chiefs rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes isn't yet ready to play, analysis, commentary | The Kansas City Star
Here’s an illustration of the challenges facing first-round draft pick Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as they attempt to turn a 21-year-old who graduated from high school three years ago into a top-level quarterback at the most advanced level of football.
Jamaal Charles to the Broncos a no-win proposition for the Chiefs
It's going to be uncomfortable for the Chiefs and their fans with Jamaal Charles on the Broncos.
5 questions about the Kansas City Chiefs roster after the 2017 NFL Draft - Arrowhead Pride
The final three picks will certainly have some competition, I think. Jehu Chesson joins a crowded WR room, Ukeme Eligwe is behind Derrick Johnson (and others, possibly) and Leon McQuay looks like the 10th defensive back.
Raiders' Jalen Richard on the Jack Del Rio smirk
Raiders RB Jalen Richard didn’t know the meaning at first, but now loves seeing his coach smirk
Gareon Conley of Oakland Raiders says visit with Cleveland police 'another way to prove my innocence'
Raiders rookie Gareon Conley, speaking Friday after the Raiders' first rookie minicamp practice, called football "a stress reliever" as police investigate a rape accusation made against him.
The Future of Raiders Fandom is identity crisis - Silver And Black Pride
What does the future hold for the Raider Nation? We have been forced to face that question since March 27 when the owners approved the team to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
QB Colin Kaepernick still unsigned, that's bad for NFL
Lesser quarterbacks have gotten contracts while the controversial former 49er waits.
Is Spring League an NFL springboard? It's at least a shot
The NFL is so starved for developmental services -- especially for QBs -- that The Spring League appears to be serving its purpose in giving scouts close-up looks at players such as David Ash.
NFL draft deception: The art of the smoke screen - NFL Nation- ESPN
Smoke screens, bluffs, misdirection and misinformation all are part of NFL general managers' standard operating procedure leading up to the draft.
In the NFL of 2nd chances, Ray Rice is the only one left out - NY Daily News
Ray Rice has been contacted by a handful of NFL teams in the last two-and-one-half years.
Brandon Marshall maps out Giants Super Bowl and NFL goodbye | New York Post
Brandon Marshall has a plan in place for what his time with the Giants will look like over the course of his two-year contract.
Big Ben on Garrett's sack goal: OL 'enjoyed hearing it' - NFL.com
Myles Garrett said he plans on making Ben Roethlisberger his first NFL sack. Word of this news got back to Big Ben and he says he's looking forward to the challenge.
Drafting top-five RBs nets teams at least 4 more wins - NFL.com
If history and math are to be trusted, the Jaguars should finish with at least an 8-8 record simply because they drafted Leonard Fournette, a running back, within the top five picks.