QB Mark Sanchez, DE Kenny Anunike and CB Lorenzo Doss spent Saturday as honorary captains at Futures Football games, offering support for young players. (photos by Ben Swanson)
DENVER — **Growing up in New Orleans, cornerback Lorenzo Doss vividly remembers when then-Saints running back Deuce McAllister, a two-time Pro Bowler, visited a football practice. After all, that wasn't too long ago for the 2015 rookie.
Being able to meet McAllister and hear his words of wisdom about reaching the NFL had a profound impact on Doss.
"I remember like it was yesterday," Doss said. "Being in New Orleans, just looking at the older guys before me and seeing how great of players they were; I remember Saints players just coming back to the park and just giving us different speeches and motivating us and being the best we can. That's all I'm trying to do – me, Kenny [Anunike] and Mark [Sanchez] – and just talk to these guys a little bit and coach them up and give them motivation to get to the next level."
Doss, Anunike and Sanchez spent their Saturday morning as honorary captains for Denver Public School's Futures Football championship games, joining the teams for the coin toss and during the game for support and assistance.
Futures Football, now in its ninth season, is a program that collaborates with 10 DPS high schools to provide football coaching and other character-development courses for student-athletes in the program at 10 feeder middle schools.
Anunike and Doss were captains for Montbello while Sanchez was a captain for Thomas Jefferson High School, which added a little offense-defense competition between the Broncos. Also, at Manual High School in downtown Denver, long snapper Casey Kreiter, offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson and cornerback Taurean Nixon were honorary captains at other Futures Football games on Saturday.
"I think having our presence out here -- me, Lorenzo and Mark -- it just kind of adds fire, a little extra spark to these kids, so they have something to play for," Anunike said. "They want to show out."
Whereas Anunike and Doss have made their presences felt in the community over the past year as Broncos, this was Sanchez's first time getting involved in the Denver community since being traded to the Broncos, and that's something he's been focused on doing ever since he came in the league, wherever he finds himself. "I think it's important that, one, you remember the people that got you there and then you give back to the other people around that support you," Sanchez said. "These are the youngsters, the coaches, parents that brought them out here from Denver Public Schools Futures Football program that cheer us on every Sunday.
This is just a big high-five and a big hug saying thank you to them for all their support. I think that's important and I'm excited to be with a team that has a same sentiment and shares that sentiment of wanting to give back to the community and remembering where it all started, on fields like this."