The Denver Broncos head athletic trainer, Steve “Greek” Antonopulos, has been selected to present Pat Bowlen into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 3, 2019. Antonopulos has been with the franchise for over 40 years and has been a close friend and employee to Bowlen.
The Bowlen family has selected 40+-year Broncos Athletic Trainer Steve “Greek” Antonopulos to be Pat Bowlen’s Pro Football Hall of Fame presenter, per sources. Greek—a long-time Bowlen friend and employee—becomes just the 2nd trainer all-time to serve as a PFHOF presenter. pic.twitter.com/aEPSbRIy2V— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 28, 2019
Greek is the only employee who has worked during the entire tenure under Bowlen ownership as he began his career with the team as an assistant trainer in 1976. Upon learning he would be presenting Bowlen, Greek was overcome with emotion.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion when I was asked to be Mr. Bowlen’s presenter,” Antonopulos said. “I feel very honored and very humbled. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever been asked to do in my life. If you really look at it, it’s all about Mr. Bowlen. We developed a really neat relationship over all the years that he’s been here. It’s certainly unique—he’s not only my boss but he’s my friend. That’s what makes it even more of an honor to do this, especially with the request coming from his family.”
Antonopulos summed up Bowlen’s leadership and contribution to the culture of the franchise last December talking about how sincere and caring of a man he was behind the scenes.
“Mr. B loved his players more than anything. [The training room] was the first place he came every day. … The most important thing to him was, ‘How are the players doing?’ He wanted to know the status of the injuries, how they’re coming along, what he could do to help. He was just a sincere, caring man.
“One of the things that was tremendous about him was he allowed everybody to do their job to the best of their ability, and whatever you needed, as long as you could justify it, there were no issues. If it helped the players, he was all about it. This whole building is all about the players and the product on the field. The whole organization, that’s what it’s all about. His mindset each and every day [was focused on] those players.
“He’s a personal friend, and you miss having him here, because it was so much of the standard. Just the fact that you saw him every day, it was crucial to our organization. To still know that [the team is] owned by him and he’s involved in some way, somehow — in the sense of his spirit, if nothing else — is crucial.”
Greek will become just the second team athletic trainer in NFL history to serve as a presenter at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The last was former Buffalo Bills trainer Ed Ambromski who presented guard Billy Shaw in 1999.
Bowlen had led by example and treated his employees with compassion and respect, which is something you don’t often see in the NFL even today. It’s going to be nice to see his bust finally enter Canton this Summer.