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Sacco Sez: Father's Day was made for the Broncos' Grahams

Posted Jun 18, 2017

Tom and Daniel are the only father-son Broncos player combo.

Father's Day weekend spawns many stories of fathers and sons, of lessons learned and of young boys learning to become men.

In so many ways, it all comes back to fathers and sons.

The history of the Denver Broncos involves nearly two thousand people who have been players, coaches or administrators for the team, but the Broncos still have had just one father and son duo on the field.

That is the Grahams: father Tom and son Daniel.

The Broncos nearly had another pair, as Kyle Kragen participated in Broncos training camp in 2016. If he had made the active roster, he and his father, Greg, would've joined the Grahams in that group. This story, though, is about Tom and Daniel.

Tom came to the Broncos from the University of Oregon in 1972 and played in Denver through 1974. Daniel, meanwhile, played high school, college and professional football in the same state.

After a distinguished pro career, Tom stayed in Denver for the rest of his life, hence young Daniel went to high school at Thomas Jefferson in the Denver Prep League, then on to the University of Colorado before beginning his pro career with the New England Patriots.

I had been proud to know Tom as a first class individual and the finest example of a Bronco alum, but I was fortunate to see him in a brand new light when Daniel signed with us as a free agent tight end in 2007.

I have told this story to both Tom and Daniel many times, so I trust Daniel and Tom's spirit do not mind it being repeated one more time.

On the day of Daniel's signing I was running around the building performing a myriad of public relations tasks when I heard that Daniel was signing right at that moment.

So I headed down to General Manager Ted Sundquist's office to welcome him to Denver, and Ted introduced me when the time was right.

Daniel did not just say hello.

He rose like an enlisted man when an officer entered the room, and in the manner of conduct that every parent wishes for a son, he introduced himself to me, politely and deferentially, with grace and class.

And I felt right then that while I hoped he would be an outstanding player for us, as he had been for the Patriots, I absolutely knew that he would be a great representative of the team and city and one who would not only conduct himself in a first class manner, but whose behavior was certain to influence numerous players younger than him.

And he did, and my comment to him and to Tom was that the parental influence was most obvious.

The apple never falls far from the tree.

Tom Graham passed away after a long illness about two weeks ago.  His services were held a week ago Friday at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, and many attendees commented that it was a perfect celebration of life.

But the celebration of Tom Graham's life is not over.

It continues every day, as his values live on in his children and really, in all who knew him.

In a football sense, that means the way Daniel carries on with the character, values and spirit of Tom.

Father's Day is not just about fathers and sons today, it is about fathers and sons forever, and the Broncos will always have the embodiment of that in Tom and Daniel Graham.

Rest in peace, and carry on.