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Tim Riggins Joins Broncos Practice

Posted Oct 29, 2013

Actor Taylor Kitsch, who portrayed running back/fullback Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights, visited Broncos practice before giving the team a screening of his new movie.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tuesday morning, there was a familiar face on the Broncos sideline.

But it wasn't a former player -- at least not in real life.

Actor Taylor Kitsch, most famous for his portrayal of Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights, took in the start of Denver's morning practice alongside Head Coach John Fox.

"I'm Canadian, so I grew up loving hockey," Kitsch said. "But obviously doing FNL, I live in Austin, Texas, have for the last six years. So by default I've become a huge fan. So this is great for me."

His former Friday Night Lights co-star, Scott Porter -- who portrayed quarterback Jason Street -- was jealous of Kitsch's behind-the-scenes access.

"He's actually texting me right now," Kitsch smiled. "I just sent him a picture, so he can be as jealous as he wants."

Kitsch is in town to give the Broncos a screening of his new movie, Lone Survivor. He was joined by the movie's writer and director, Peter Berg, for a tour of the facility after practice.

"I was telling the guys, we're pretty spoiled," Kitsch said. "To come out here and to bring the movie with us and show the guys, it's just that reciprocity. It's great. I love it. I played sports my whole life, so just to be around the guys, too, is a lot of fun."

The idea to give the team an early screening of the movie came from the Broncos. But there was another connection that helped make it happen.

Kitsch knows Broncos Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers and Defensive Line Coach Jay Rodgers.

"Their little brother lives in Austin -- it's a small world," the actor said. "He knows all about Lone Survivor, so really through that contact and then Foxy (Head Coach John Fox), his father was a Navy SEAL, that connection was made and we just tried to make it work. Finally we put it together and now we're here. It's great."

The movie, starring Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg, is based on the 2005 Navy SEAL mission "Operation Red Wings." A team of SEALs was tasked with capturing or killing Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. Marcus Luttrell -- who is also in Denver for the screening -- was the only member of his team to survive.

Kitsch said he's "really" excited for the Broncos to see the movie.

"It's a special film," he said. "That connection is very close, the brotherhood and everything else that you do for that guy next to you. That's what that movie is. I'm really excited for them (to see it)."

Fox was just as excited, and said it was "great" to have Kitsch out to the facility to watch practice.

“We’ve got a little team activity today -- we’re going to watch the premiere of Lone Survivor, which is kind of a team-building type of thing," Fox explained. "Obviously, it was kind of neat to see him. I think Marcus Luttrell, the real lone survivor, is going to be there, so I think our guys are excited about it. I know I am.”