AFC West: Karl Mecklenburg

In a fast-moving story Wednesday, the Denver Broncos’ front office reportedly survived a scare.

Denver director of player personnel Matt Russell decided to stay with the team instead of remaining a candidate to become the next athletic director at his alma mater, the University of Colorado. Earlier Wednesday afternoon, the Denver Post reported Russell wanted to go back to his old school where he was a star linebacker. Now, the NFL Network reports Russell will stay in Denver.

Russell is John Elway’s right-hand man and he is highly valued in the organization. Russell turned down a chance to interview for the open Chargers’ general manager job in January.

In other AFC West news:

Oakland first-round pick, cornerback D.J. Hayden has been released from the hospital after having stomach surgery to clean scar tissue stemming from a life-threatening heart surgery he had last November.

Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick, is expected to be ready for training camp. While the long-term prognosis is good, it is worrisome for the team that Hayden, who has not had any contact practices since his injury, suffered a setback in a May OTA practice.

Former Denver Broncos’ star Karl Mecklenburg has opened up about his memory loss.

Mecklenburg, 52, told Columbia Sports Journalism this: “On a bad day, I end up places and don’t remember what I was trying to do. I’ll go out to the garage and can’t remember why I was there, what I was going to get or what I was planning to do.”

It’s just another sobering reminder of the issues former NFL players’ deal with. Mecklenburg was a star pass-rusher in Denver for 12 years and remains a key part of the team’s history.

AFC West HOF semifinalists

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 27 semifinalists for enshrinement in 2012. The list of 27 will be pared to 17 finalists in January, and the enshrinement vote will be held in February.

Let’s take a look at the nine candidates among the 27 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Steve Atwater, S, -- 1989-98 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? He might be getting closer, but this year might be tough.

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it might take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not.

Don Coryell, coach -- 1978-86 San Diego Chargers

Will he get in? The late coach has his supporters, but it won’t be easy.

Terrell Davis, RB -- 1995-2001 Denver Broncos.

Will he get in? Davis’ short career remains his biggest challenge.

Albert Lewis, CB – 1983-93 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Nice to see him make this list for the first time, but it might be tough.

John Lynch, S – 2004-07 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? Hard hitter will likely get in soon, if not this year.

Karl Mecklenburg, LB -- 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? I’d call him a big longshot to make it in 2013.

Warren Sapp, DT – 2004-07 Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make it in his first year on the ballot.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I have a good feeling about Shields in his second year of eligibility.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 17 finalists for enshrinement in 2012. The vote will be held February 4.

Three of the finalists have AFC West ties. Five others were part of the nine semifinalists to get knocked out of contention Saturday: Denver’s Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis and Karl Mecklenburg, former San Diego coach Don Coryell and former Oakland executive Ron Wolf.

Let’s take a look at the three finalists among the 17 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it may take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not. Cris Carter could block him this year.

Willie Roaf, T -- 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I would not be shocked if Roaf gets in within the next couple of years.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I think Shields goes to Canton in his first time on the ballot.

Breaking down HOF semifinalists

November, 23, 2011
11/23/11
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 26 semifinalists for enshrinement in 2012. The list of 26 will be pared to 17 finalists in January and the enshrinement vote will be held in February.

Let’s take a look at the eight candidates among the 26 who spent significant portions of their careers in the AFC West. Here they are:

Steve Atwater, S, -- 1989-98 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? I don’t think Atwater will be in enshrined this year.

Tim Brown, WR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders

Will he get in? Brown will get in, but it may take some more time because of the logjam at receiver, whether it’s right or not.

Don Coryell, coach -- 1978-86 San Diego Chargers

Will he get in? The late coach has his supporters, but his candidacy may be difficult.

Terrell Davis, RB -- 1995-2001 Denver Broncos.

Will he get in? Davis’ short career remains his biggest challenge.

Karl Mecklenburg, LB -- 1983-1994 Denver Broncos

Will he get in? I’d call him a big long shot to make it in 2012.

Willie Roaf, T -- 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? I would not be shocked if Roaf gets in in the next couple of years.

Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs

Will he get in? Shields has a real chance of being elected in his first year on the ballot.

Ron Wolf, Contributor -- 1963-1974, 1978-1990 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Will he get in? Wolf had a long career and is best known for his days as the Packers’ general manager. I think he has a shot.

Broncos reveal 50th anniversary team

September, 15, 2009
9/15/09
7:25
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


The Denver Broncos have released their all-time 50th Anniversary team that was chosen by fan voting. The team will be recognized Oct. 11 against New England.

It looks to me that the fans got this line right. There are some superstars on this team. Here’s the list:

First-team Offense

QB John Elway

RB Terrell Davis

RB Floyd Little

WR Ed McCaffrey

WR Rod Smith

TE Shannon Sharpe

OT Matt Lepsis

OT Gary Zimmerman

G Keith Bishop

G Mark Schlereth

C Tom Nalen

First-team Defense

DE Simon Fletcher

DE Rich Jackson

DT Trevor Pryce

DT Rubin Carter

LB Karl Mecklenburg

LB Randy Gradishar

LB Tom Jackson

CB Champ Bailey

CB Louis Wright

S Steve Atwater

S Dennis Smith

First-team Specialists

K Jason Elam

P Tom Rouen

Ret Rick Upchurch

Draft value, AFC West style

April, 23, 2009
4/23/09
1:42
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a look at the players drafted by AFC West teams who made the top-50 draft value list.

No. 7: Terrell Davis, RB, Denver, 1995, Sixth round

Comment: The catalyst of Denver's two Super Bowl championship teams. He gave quarterback John Elway a balanced attack.

No. 11: Shannon Sharpe, TE, Denver, 1990, Seventh round

Comment: He went from a small-school receiver to a position-changing tight end who won three Super Bowls.

No. 13: Karl Mecklenburg, LB, Denver, 1983, 12th round

Comment: One of Denver's best defensive players of all time. He was a classic overachiever.

No. 27: Rod Martin, LB, Oakland, 1977, 12th round

Comment: An underrated player who was a key on Oakland's great defensive teams.

No 48: Cliff Branch, WR, Oakland, 1972, Fourth round

Comment: He is one of Al Davis' all-time favorite players. Opposing defenses had to account for Branch at all times.

No. 50: Rodney Harrison, S, San Diego, 1994, Fifth round

Comment: The hard-hitting Harrison was a standout in San Diego and in New England.

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