ENGLEWOOD, Colo -- In June 2009,
Just 18 months later, Lloyd's career-best season will culminate at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium.
Lloyd, who has set career-highs in catches, yards and touchdowns already this season, will represent the team at the Pro Bowl on Jan. 30, 2011. After finding out Tuesday, he called his first Pro Bowl selection "the No. 1 individual goal for any player."
"It's about perseverance," Lloyd said in a conference call. "I stayed strong in my faith and my confidence in what I can accomplish. I was put in the right system and given the opportunities, and I was able to capitalize on it."
In a breakout campaign, Lloyd has paced the Denver receiving corps this season with 73 catches for an NFL-high 1,375 yards and 10 touchdowns in 15 games. The eighth-year player topped the 100-yard receiving mark for the sixth time this season in Sunday's win against the Texans, pulling down five catches for 111 yards.
With Sunday's season finale against San Diego left to play, Lloyd's single-season receiving yardage total ranks behind only Rod Smith's 1,602 yards in 2000. The second-year Bronco has already eclipsed his previous highest single-season yardage total by more than 600 yards.
Minutes after the rosters for this year's all-star game were announced, Lloyd said earning a berth in the game has been high on his list of priorities since being drafted by San Francisco in 2003.
The wide receiver pushed through struggles along the way, including last season in Denver when he was inactive for the team's first 14 games. But Wide Receivers Coach Adam Gase credited Lloyd's selflessness and positive attitude for carrying him through and making his Pro-Bowl caliber season possible.
From the beginning, Gase sensed Lloyd, who played for three teams in his first six seasons before enduring the wait at home for a fourth team to come calling, was just grateful for the opportunity.
"(Lloyd) never gave up hope on the fact that he wanted to be here," Gase said. "He liked his teammates, liked the coaching staff, liked the offense we were running, and I think he just wanted to be a part of it."
Since seizing a starting role, Lloyd's playmaking skills have added a consistent spark to the team's passing game.
The receiver's 19.1 yards per catch average leads the league (min. 60 receptions), while his 18 catches of 25-or-more yards are also an NFL best. Several of his acrobatic grabs have earned recognition on NFL.com's weekly list of the league's top catches, including his 41-yard reception over a Houston defensive back in Sunday's win.
"Brandon's individual performance has been one of the true bright spots in our season, and his big-play capability and dynamic catches have excited our fans and players all year long," Interim Head Coach Eric Studesville said in a statement. "Working with Wide Receivers Coach Adam Gase, he is developing into one of the NFL's elite players at his position. The entire Denver Broncos organization is thrilled to see him get the recognition that he has earned this year."
Lloyd joins Smith, Brandon Marshall, Ed McCaffrey, Anthony Miller, Haven Moses, Rick Upchurch and Steve Watson on the list of Broncos wide receivers to make the Pro Bowl. In the game, he'll be joined in the AFC squad's receiving corps by Houston's Andre Johnson, Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne and Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe.
It's an honor Lloyd is happy to share with the people who helped him get there.
The receiver thanked former head coach Josh McDaniels for giving him a chance, teammates for keeping him positive and focused and his family for sticking by him throughout his career.
Lloyd noted that it was tough for him to enjoy such an impressive statistical season in the middle of a disappointing campaign for his team, calling it "bittersweet." But in the end, it's a recognition that highlights his hard work on a circuitous road to success to those closest to him.
"It's excitement," Lloyd said. "Everybody's happy for me just because they know me and they know that even with everything that I've been through, it never changed me."