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'It means more to me than I can really express': Former Orange Crush defender Barney Chavous inducted into Colorado Sports Hall of Fame


DENVER — A key member of the Broncos' Orange Crush defense has received a statewide honor.

Former Broncos defensive end Barney Chavous was inducted Wednesday as a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2024.

"It means more to me than I can really express right now," Chavous told "I'm accepting it with a spirit of humility.

"… This is an exciting night for us and my teammates and family [and] for the Broncos organization. The Broncos organization was real good to me over the years."

A member of the Broncos Top 100 Team, Chavous played all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Broncos after being selected with the 36th-overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft.

After being drafted out of South Carolina State, Chavous started 178 of the 183 games in which he appeared during his Broncos career. Though sacks were not tracked as an official statistic until 1982, Chavous is one of just four Broncos to reach the 75-sack mark in his career. Chavous retired as the Broncos' all-time sack leader.

With Chavous among the many talented players on the Broncos' Orange Crush defense, Denver reached its first Super Bowl appearance in 1977. In Chavous' 13 seasons with the team, the Broncos suffered just two losing seasons.

Chavous later rejoined the Broncos as an assistant coach and spent 11 seasons with the team across several roles. Now 73, Chavous served as the Broncos' assistant offensive line coach for their back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998.

"I've got so many," Chavous said of his favorite memories. "We could talk all night on them. … As a player, us going to the Super Bowl, and as a coach, us winning two Super Bowls. Those were probably the highlights of my career. I thank the organization for keeping me around, because a lot of the players I played with back in '77, we always wanted to get back to the Super Bowl. The organization kept me around and I ended up getting me two rings, not just one. I ended up getting two rings. When you win championships, that has to be your highlight."

Chavous was joined Wednesday by his wife, children, grandchildren and sister, as well as many more friends from South Carolina. A multitude of former teammates also attended, including Colorado Sports Hall of Famers Louis Wright, Randy Gradishar, Dennis Smith, Karl Mecklenburg, Rick Upchurch and Tom Jackson.

"I'm [going] in with my teammates," Chavous said. "We all are one. … We're just coming back together again. I feel honored just to be in there with them."

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