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Mile High Morning: Pat Surtain II brings holiday cheer to families at The Gathering Place 

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The Lead

To spread joy during the holiday season, cornerback Pat Surtain II spent his off day giving back to the Denver community.

Surtain visited The Gathering Place, a nonprofit organization that provides services to women, children and transgender individuals experiencing poverty in Denver, to decorate gingerbread cookies with children and their families.

"It means a lot just to be able to give back to the community [during] such a prestigious holiday, Christmas," Surtain said. "I want to spread holiday cheer, holiday joy and love, so it's always great to give back to the community, especially in times like this where people may be going through certain things, certain circumstances."

By spending quality time with the kids, Surtain hoped to bring joy to them and their families during the holiday season.

"I'm just here to put a smile on kids' faces and make them happy," Surtain said. "At the end of the day, it's just my joy, giving back, and seeing the kids happy, seeing the families happy together."

After decorating cookies, Surtain took four families on a shopping spree to fulfill their holiday wish lists. He also purchased bulk items for The Gathering Place's family program wish list, which impacted several more families by providing them with necessities such as shampoo, body wash and diapers.

"It's always important during the holidays to focus not so much on the toys and the gifts and stuff, but to focus on basic needs, necessities," Surtain said. "So, that's what I'm here to do, that's what I'm here to provide. I'm going on the shopping spree to make sure families get what they need to get."

Though he's only in his second year in the NFL, Surtain has already made a significant impact in the Denver community. Using his platform as a professional athlete to give back is something he learned from his father, former two-time All-Pro defensive back Patrick Surtain.

"I always grew up just to be humble, to always be fortunate, always be grateful for what you have," the younger Surtain said. "I want to use my platform to give back to others that are in need. The main thing for me is to always give back no matter what platform you have, because at the end of the day it's going to leave a mark on the world."

Below the Fold

With two interceptions against the Cardinals in Week 15, safety Justin Simmons notched his third-straight season with at least five interceptions. He also had two picks in Week 13 against the Ravens, and on Sunday he became the first Bronco since Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey in 2006 to total at least two games with multiple interceptions in a season.

"It has been a weird year, but my confidence never wavers," Simmons said after the game. "A big part of that is the coaches speaking life over me. I have a bunch of great guys in the locker room that are always confident in my abilities and what I can do. I have the utmost confidence in myself. It has been a tough season for us as a team. The most important thing is to find a way to win. I am just really happy [that] in front of our fans, we were able to pull together a nice team win today."

While the interceptions may be on Simmons' stat sheet, the two-time All-Pro noted that they would not have been possible without the entire defense working together to make a play.

"The best part about interceptions is that it is a complete defensive effort," Simmons said. "I really, truly and honestly believe that. Most of my interceptions come with great defensive execution and being in the right place at the right time. I do not believe in going to go search for plays. I do not think necessarily that plays come and find you, I just believe that the game is bigger than yourself. It is bigger than me getting an interception, bigger than guys getting sacks and bigger than guys getting tackles for loss. All those things come when all 11 of us do our job at the highest level. I just try to always be accountable, be in the right spot, be exactly where I tell the guys I am going to be and make a play when the play comes to me. Ultimately, that is what I get paid to do. I am really thankful for the guys on the defense and for the coaches week in and week out setting us up for tremendous success. I think big-time plays come in bunches and they definitely found us here late in the season. We just have to keep that momentum going."

The Unclassifieds

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