ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Like all of the Broncos' defensive linemen, Ben Garland is always ready to enter the game when called upon by his coaches.
Unlike the rest of his teammates, however, Garland is also ready to join his comrades on the battlefield if called upon.
On Wednesday, 1st Lt. Garland officially became sworn in as a member of the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard at the Broncos training facility at Dove Valley.
"It's always been my dream to be able to come out here and do this, so this is really me being able to do both dreams," Garland said. "I love being out here and being able to practice. We practiced today and I got to put on the best uniform in the world, and put on this Air Force uniform."
Broncos Head Coach John Fox and Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun, who coached Garland at the Air Force Academy, were on hand to proudly witness the event.
"I think the ultimate commitment and sacrifice is in the U.S. Military," Fox said. "I'm not sure you get a better trained guy than a guy like Ben Garland."
Calhoun agreed, and said that both the Broncos and the National Guard were gaining a quality teammate.
"You've got a high-character young man, a tremendous leader, a guy that is humble, a guy that wants to be a darn good teammate, a guy that's dependable and a guy that's durable," Calhoun said. "He's a great example, not just on the football field, but more importantly as a human being. This guy is a winner. He's as (good a) leader as a leader gets."
Other members of the Air National Guard and Garland's grandparents came to the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre to watch Garland take his oath.
After reciting the oath administered by Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre, 140th Wing commander, Garland met with the press. He expressed his pride in being able to play for the team he rooted for growing up, the Broncos, while serving the National Guard in his home state as well.
"It means a lot to me to be able to join the Air National Guard. I couldn't ask for anything more. The Colorado guard is where my heart was. I just hope I will be able to contribute as much as I can while fighting for a spot for the team."
Whether or not he ends up with a roster spot at the end of training camp, he will have made quite an impact in the state of Colorado.
"It's a proud moment," Calhoun said. "There have been many and there will be many more for Ben Garland and all those that are fortunate to be associated with Ben Garland."