ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When the Broncos head to South Florida on Friday for their Week 3 contest against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins, the trip will mark the homecomings of Denver players on both sides of the ball, including wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Phillip Dorsett on offense and cornerback Damarri Mathis and outside linebacker Nik Bonitto on defense.
For two of the Broncos' other Floridians, cornerback Pat Surtain II and wide receiver Brandon Johnson, Sunday's game at Hard Rock Stadium will carry added significance — the chance to play in the stadium where their fathers shined for years at the professional level.
Surtain's father, Patrick Surtain, was a second-round draft pick of the Dolphins and played for the franchise for seven seasons, from 1998-2004. The elder Surtain, now the defensive backs coach at Florida State, was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls as a member of the Dolphins, and his son still has memories of his father competing in Miami.
The younger Surtain, a native of Plantation, Florida, said the chance to play at the same stadium will bring back plenty of fond memories and make his return even more special.
"Going back to my hometown, it's going to be a special moment," Surtain said Wednesday. "Just seeing my family [and] playing in the stadium that my dad played in, it's going to be a surreal moment. Ever since my childhood experience, I just remember watching games there at [the] Dolphins' stadium and just playing on the field, growing up in the locker room, just being around professional athletes.
"Being on the field, on that stage, is going to mean a lot. My family is very excited, and I'm very excited, too."
While Surtain made a name for himself with the Dolphins, Brandon Johnson's father, Charles, competed in the same stadium for its MLB team, the Florida Marlins.
Drafted in the first round of the 1992 MLB Draft, Johnson spent nearly seven of his 12 seasons with the Marlins and won four Gold Gloves as their catcher. Like Surtain, the younger Johnson recalled spending time in the locker room and watching his father play during his childhood years.
"It definitely is surreal," Johnson said. "I remember going as a little kid, watching my dad play. … The stadium is different now, but it's definitely exciting to play in that same stadium."
While the Fort Lauderdale native said his focus is on knocking off his hometown NFL team on Sunday, he also plans to cherish the unique moment and make the most of the opportunity.
"It will be awesome, man," Johnson said. "I'm going to definitely take it in and take in that full-circle moment. I'm going to stop and enjoy it."