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A Winning Attitude

Posted Jul 13, 2010

Correll Buckhalter enjoyed a career year in his first season as a Bronco. Now he's focused on leading the team to the postseason and beyond.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the season draws closer, Correll Buckhalter will likely get out a pen and paper and scrawl down several of his goals as he has nearly every year since breaking into the league in 2001.

The 31-year-old running back said it sometimes helps to have tangible individual and team milestones to shoot for.

But there's one goal that Buckhalter will not write.

He doesn't need to because it is never far from his mind.

"I'm all about winning right now," Buckhalter said. "I'm at the point of my career where I'm a 30-plus-year-old running back and only God knows how much longer I've got in this league. My main objective is to get a Super Bowl."

That's one of the biggest lessons he's picked up in a once-snake bitten and now-resurgent career.

Approaching his 10th NFL season, Buckhalter said he's a little smarter, a little more prepared and a lot hungrier to win a title. Now the patriarch of a talented backfield, Buckhalter, who was on the Eagles' roster for four NFC Championship defeats and a Super Bowl loss, said he'll be doing anything he can to make sure he can add "Super Bowl Champion" to his list of career accolades.

Part of that plan to take the Broncos to the next level comes from building off his personal success in his first season in Denver. The Nebraska product set career highs with 642 yards, a 5.4 yards per carry average and 31 receptions in 2009.

For a player who missed three complete seasons with knee injuries in the middle of his career, that success while playing in 14 games with seven starts is a testament to his physical and mental preparations.

Buckhalter said he's learned that taking care of his body is a full-time, year-round job that includes eating right -- something he said he struggled with early in his career -- and approaching every workout professionally.

With a year to learn Head Coach Josh McDaniels' system, the running back is even more upbeat about the team's future, After minicamps concluded in mid-June, Buckhalter detailed how he and the rest of the of the offense have progressed since last year at this time, calling McDaniels "a genius."

"It's allowed me to not think so much about my responsibilities," Buckhalter said. "I can just get out on the field and play and just let it go."

His experience also helps him influence his younger teammates, particularly backfieldmate Knowshon Moreno -- a role Buckhalter relishes.

Learning in an Eagles' system that featured veterans Dorsey Levens, Brian Mitchell and Duce Staley, Buckhalter said he feels a responsibility to pay it forward.

Moreno and Buckhalter handled the majority of the rushing load last season, and the veteran said during OTAs he's seen Moreno demonstrate more of the dynamic, big-play flashes he once showed at Georgia.

"I don't know everything, but the little stuff I know I try to help," Buckhalter said. "It's little key things that I know that he probably hasn't picked up yet, and I just help him with it."

Buckhalter won't discuss the figures that might make his personal goals list this season. Even when he gets around to writing them down later this summer, he'll keep them to himself.

But Buckhalter's biggest goal is no secret.

With the fickle nature of pro football, he's happy to be still plying his trade at the highest level.

That's why Buckhalter said bringing another championship to the Mile High City would be just another blessing on a long list.

"You can be here one day and gone the next (in the NFL)," Buckhalter said. "I'm fortunate. A lot of people wonder like, 'Man, how does this man have two knee injuries and still run like he is.' I say, 'Man, it's just favor from God.'"