Good morning, Broncos Country!
All the breaking news will be here on MHR, so stay tuned to see how George Paton plans to add some draft capital for the 2023 event in which the team so far has no picks until the third round.
But while those stories and conversations will revolve around the value and the picks and the contract and the money, it’s nice to remember that these players are not just commodities for us. They are also people in the community doing so much for those who live in it.
So it’s the perfect time in these quiet hours before the trade phones light up to give some attention to Garett Bolles. The Broncos’ left tackle who is out the rest of the season with a lower leg injury, is the NFL’s latest showcase in its Inspire Change social justice campaign.
"Just because you make a bad decision, doesn't mean you're a bad kid."@Broncos tackle @gbolles72 has been there. A challenging upbringing motivates him to mentor kids impacted by the juvenile justice system in Arapahoe County, Colorado. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/eoXKuMOk2x— NFL (@NFL) October 28, 2022
As many of you know, Bolles had a hard life growing up - with a mother and father who dealt with drug and alcohol abuse, neglected and abused him, and then kicked him out of the house at 18.
It was Bolles’ lacrosse coach who found him hanging out on the side of the road with all his stuff and no plans of what to do or where to go.
“I just grew up as a lost kid that was really trying to find my way,” Bolles says in the video. “When you grow up in a rough past and rough childhood, it’s hard to trust, it’s hard to love; and you know, that’s something that I had to find as I got older.”
Now Bolles is working with the Juvenile Probation Court Mentorship Program in Arapahoe County, Colo., which he founded and participates in monthly. His hope is to be a mentor and positive role model for local youth in the probation court system.
He writes the kids letters, encouraging them to stay on the straight and narrow.
“I get about two to three kids a month,” Bolles said. “I’ve been doing it for the past 2 to 3 years and I’ve been basically just writing these inspirational messages where they can look back in their life and just see that there’s somebody that you can rely on.”
Bolles added that that kind of mentorship was exactly what he would have liked - and what he ended up getting from his lacrosse coach.
“If I can change one kid a day or one kid a month, I feel like I’m doing my purpose. I want them to know, I love them and care for them and support them,” Bolles said. “This program has been a huge blessing to me and my family. Hopefully I can continue to do this for a very long time.”
Ever since John Elway selected Bolles as his first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the left tackle has been vilified by fans - for too many holding penalties, for not blocking well enough, for not being everything they want him to be.
So Bolles understands a thing or two about facing adversity and growing up in a dysfunctional situation that could have ended up much worse if it hadn’t been for his coach taking him as a family member.
“Sometimes family isn’t always blood,” Bolles said. “I think family is somebody that generally loves and cares for you unconditionally.”
Watch the video, Broncos Country; you’ll be glad you did.
Watching Garett Bolles spike the football made my night. pic.twitter.com/LmAJagS7Zf— John (@superbowl3n) October 2, 2021
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