John Elway and the Denver Broncos determined long before the legal tampering period officially began that Case Keenum would be the guy. Elway, in his time as general manager, is one that rarely mortgages the future on a maybe. Keenum was at the right price and the Broncos were the right situation.
Keenum was hoping Denver would call and call they did.
“Yeah, there were a few other teams,” Keenum said when asked if Denver was his first choice. “Like I said, I did some homework with my agents before all this started happening and we did a lot of homework on every team that was a possibility that might want a quarterback. Every team that we compared them to, the Denver Broncos were by far and away the best option. When they were the first team that called, my wife and I were down in Houston and our hearts both jumped. It was an exciting evening. When it finished up we were lying in bed around 12:30 and we didn’t get much sleep after that. We stayed up all night just talking and being excited about the opportunity moving forward. It was incredible.”
Elway was one of Keenum’s childhood heroes, so getting the call was both a surreal and incredible moment for him personally.
“I think the decision was made at that point,” Keenum said of receiving the call from Elway. “Just knowing who he is and how he operates, that was incredible. That’s from the top-down, ownership on down. It’s a first-class organization. I’ve been around a little bit, but with him, Coach Joseph and this entire offensive staff—I know a lot of the guys on the defensive side, too—it’s all just incredible, it is. It’s a dream come true.”
It’s always neat for the fans to learn that the big name free agent their team just signed was a huge fan of that team as a kid. However, those feels all go away once real games begin to be played.
The pressure of being a quarterback in Denver is probably more intense than anywhere else in the NFL. Keenum will have his work cut out for him to win over both the fans and the franchise in 2018.
“Yeah, I’ve given a lot of thoughts to that,” Keenum said of the pressure of playing in Denver. “It’s pretty incredible. As you can see from the pictures around the building, the tradition and history of the Denver Broncos, and the quarterback of the Denver Broncos, is special. For me to be on that list of guys who have played quarterback for the Denver Broncos is an honor, it really is. For me, I’ve learned that I can’t be anybody that I’m not, if that makes sense. I take things from different players, I take their advice, I’ve watched a lot of John and a lot of Peyton Manning, and I take what I’ve learned and I add it to my craft. I feel like playing quarterback is a craft and I’m always working to perfect my craft and to be the best quarterback I can be. That’s me and that’s playing my style of ball. That’s listening to my coaches, getting on the same page with my coordinators and quarterback coach, and being the leader that this team needs me to be.”
Keenum is saying all the right things and has the elite season last year to build upon. The Broncos may still take a quarterback with the fifth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Keenum will enter the season the undisputed starter no matter what. He has an opportunity to make the case for being the Broncos franchise guy for the next half decade.