Welcome in to another edition of ‘Where are they now?’ in which we look back at some past Denver Broncos who left a lasting impact on the franchise but perhaps are not as widely remembered by fans as Ring-of-Honor type legends
In this edition, we’ll check in on former defensive end Rulon Jones, who spent his entire NFL career with the Broncos from 1980-1988.
A true country boy and former college All-American from Utah State, Rulon Jones was picked with the 42nd overall pick (second round) in the 1980 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and would never wear another team’s jersey the entirety of his career.
Standing at 6-6, 260 lbs., he was an intimidating presence from the start of his career and wasted no time making his impact. During his rookie season, he finished with 11.5 sacks and was named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. He followed that up with a sophomore campaign in which he had nine sacks.
During his nine seasons in Denver, he played in all 16 games in six of them, averaging 10 sacks per year in those seasons. His season high came in 1986 where he recorded 13.5 sacks and was named a first-team All Pro as well as being named United Press International AFL-AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
His tenacity on the defensive line and ability to get into the opposing backfield earned him two Pro Bowl spots and helped the Broncos to two Super Bowls. He would ultimately retire following the 1988 season with 73.5 career sacks.
As for his legacy with the Broncos, look no further than the words of his former defensive teammate and Ring of Fame teammate Karl Mecklenburg.
“Rulon Jones should be (in the Ring of Fame),” Mecklenburg said back in 2018. “Rulon was the most dominant pass rusher of his time. I made a living off of them double teaming him. Some of the (Ring of Fame) decision making is hard to figure.”
What has Rulon Jones been up to?
Jones has always been an avid outdoorsman, so it makes sense that his post-football career is essentially being a real-life cowboy.
In 1989, he opened Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Eden, Utah, where he purchased 25,000 acres of land in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains, which is used for hunting deer, elk, and Shiras moose. He would soon thereafter open up a 5,000-acre Elk hunting reserve, and after finding success in Utah, he has since opened up locations in Idaho, Mexico, and Spain.
He enjoys a quiet life almost completely off the grid with his long time wife miles away from the nearest neighbor while he pursues his outdoor passions. He also continues to spend time with his six children, including one special needs son.
Jones initially was like many recently retired players who have trouble adjusting to non-football life, but he has found his second calling (or perhaps first) in his post-football life making a second career as an outdoorsman who spends time with his family.
“As great as that was, it doesn’t compare to family, or your religion or any of that stuff,” he said back in 2016. “It’s great to have experienced that and learn from it. But it doesn’t compare to any of the other, solid stuff of life.
“I’ve been very fortunate to do all that, and to have a wife that goes along with it,” Jones added. “There have been challenges, but I can’t complain.”