Phillip Lindsay and Broncos react to historic Pro Bowl selection (Kyle Fredrickson, Denver Post)
"A couple of the linebackers after the Browns game came up to me and said, 'Our whole linebacker room voted for you for the Pro Bowl," Lindsay said Wednesday. That means a lot."
NFL coaches, players and fans voted too, as Lindsay became the first undrafted rookie offensive player to earn a Pro Bowl selection. News which arrived Tuesday evening via a phone call from coach Vance Joseph and running backs coach Curtis Modkins.
"It was a little emotional," Lindsay said. "Because at one point I was just trying to make the team. I was hoping to do some gunner reps, some kick return and hopefully catch balls at punt return."
Lindsay, who sits 9 rushing yards shy of 1,000 entering Monday night's game against the Raiders, ascended in Denver's plans soon after first hitting the practice fields.
"In OTAs you kind of feel the rookies out," cornerback Bradley Roby said. "I always felt like his movement was good. This guy is fast, he's quick and he accelerates. I was thinking, 'If he can run with the pads on, he's going to be nice.'"
Lindsay hopes his story inspires underdogs everywhere (Arnie Stapleton, AP)
Lindsay had hoped to meet Barkley at the NFL combine last spring but he never received an invitation to the league's annual gathering of top draft hopefuls, a snub that's driven him all season along with going undrafted two months later.
Lindsay said he hopes his remarkable rise will inspire kids everywhere who are overlooked underdogs.
"You've got to keep pushing, you just never know. You've got to keep the faith no matter what," Lindsay said. "Everybody can take anything from you, but they can't take your faith. That's what you've got to rely on. You've got to go for your dreams."
Passed by kids, vet Devontae Booker having best year in limited role (Mike Klis, 9 News)
Booker has the pride and supreme confidence common among all professional-level athletes. Yet as two rookies – first, third-round pick Royce Freeman and then the undrafted Phillip Lindsay – moved ahead of him on the Broncos' running back depth chart to start the season, Booker didn't sulk. He kept his ego in check and wouldn't you know, Booker has played better than ever, if in a far more limited role than he was expecting.
"Really, I've been like this, in this position, my whole life,'' he said. "I've had to work up from the bottom of the chart to start or whatever the case may be.
"It just takes me back to when I was younger in high school and junior college and then when I was at Utah. I just continue to grind and do what I need to do and know there's going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.''
Broncos' odd couple: Von Miller, Brandon McManus are 'friends forever' (Jeff Legwold, ESPN)
"I just picture us with gray hair, out of shape, sitting on the porch somewhere, watching our grandkids play, you know?" Miller said. "That's just B-Mac and I. I can't even really remember like the official start of it or anything, but now we have that bond, his family, my family."
"I think when some people look at it, there's the star of the NFL that Von is, over here," McManus said. "And then there's the kicker, sometimes the hero and sometimes the scapegoat, but he's the kicker. But you know my wife, my dad, everybody in my family, Von is a part of it. Just friends forever."
So much so that as McManus and his wife prepare for the birth of twin boys in January, the couple has tabbed Miller with something else to add to his personal to-do list.
"Since he was the second player drafted [in 2011], we told him he could be the godfather of the second boy," McManus said with a laugh. "My brother-in-law and sister are going to be the godparents for the other, so we're all set. But Von is super-pumped about that, I mean super-pumped, we may have to rein him in some."
Bradley Chubb's pursuit of rookie sack record mirrors Jevon Kearse's run (Jeff Legwold, ESPN)
Jim Washburn was the Titans defensive line coach in 1999. Now retired from the NFL, he also worked with Chubb for several days in Raleigh, North Carolina, earlier this year as Chubb prepared for the NFL draft.
Washburn, who has coached a long line of players including Kearse and Ndamukong Suh, said he knew there was something about Chubb even before they set foot on the practice field.
"... We got on the field, and just his approach in our meetings, our drills, everything, none of it is too big for him," Washburn said. "I just think God put him together to play football. His parents certainly did their job in how he works and how he treats people, and God certainly did his job too because that guy is doing what he was meant to do."