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Broncos name season-long defensive coaching fellowship after Ring of Famer Billy Thompson


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — One of the Broncos' greatest defensive players will see his legacy live on in Denver.

The Broncos have named their season-long diversity coaching fellowship after Ring of Fame safety Billy Thompson, President/CEO Joe Ellis told employees at a retirement celebration for Thompson on Thursday.

Thompson, a three-time Pro Bowler and 1977 first-team All-Pro, is set to retire this week after 42 years with the Broncos, including 13 years as a player and 29 years as an employee with the community development and alumni relations staffs.

With the third-most interceptions in team history, Thompson carved out a stellar career with the Broncos after being selected in the third round of the 1969 NFL Draft. He helped captain the Orange Crush defense and was a key piece of the Broncos' 1977 team that advanced to Super Bowl XII. Thompson still holds the record for the most consecutive starts in team history and has the most takeaways of any Broncos player.

DeAndre Thompson will serve as the inaugural Billy Thompson Diversity Coaching fellow.

"Any time you represent any part of an organization you work for, you feel honored by it," DeAndre Thompson said of receiving the fellowship. "So them doing that and me being in this position, I feel like it's a great honor and I take it very seriously.

"… Especially in a time now, just where society is as a whole, I think it's even more important to get more diversity, people from different backgrounds, bringing in different perspectives. And the more perspectives you have in the building, the greater an organization can be, just getting many voices and different points of view for things. I feel like that can only help any organization."

Formerly the University of Buffalo's cornerbacks coach in 2021, Thompson will help the defense with film breakdowns and scouting reports. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett previously said Thompson will also work with the defensive backs.

In Buffalo, Thompson helped the Bulls to the fifth-best passing defense in the Mid-American Conference. He previously worked at Campbell University as an assistant defensive backs coach (2019) and cornerbacks coach (2020). Campbell posted the second-ranked pass defense among FCS programs in 2020. Thompson also worked as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M, where he was a team captain during his playing career. Thompson played his final season of eligibility at Memphis in 2012 before working as a graduate assistant at Missouri in 2015 to begin his coaching career.

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