ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Surprise, Tom Nalen. You're going into the Broncos' Ring of Fame.
Wednesday during his daily radio show, Nalen received an unexpected call from Broncos President Joe Ellis with the news that he'll be the 24th member of the club's Ring of Fame.
"I spoke to Mr. Bowlen and he said congratulations," Nalen said on the radio. "It's pretty exciting for me."
At first, the center didn't know how to react. He called it "embarrassing," but then the news began to sink in.
"It's an awesome honor. It really is," Nalen said. "It's the best honor a player can get. People say Hall of Fame -- I don't believe that because the Hall of Fame doesn't really know you."
"Your team knows you."
The Broncos know Nalen well. He played center for the club for 14 seasons, seeing action in the third-most regular-season games in franchise history -- 194 -- and his 188 starts are second behind only John Elway in the franchise's record books.
The two-time Super Bowl champion blocked in 11 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 93 100-yard rushing games in his career, the most by any NFL team during that span. Of those seasons, one was NFL MVP Terrell Davis' 2,000-yard campaign and two belonged to Offensive Rookies of the Year -- Mike Anderson and Clinton Portis.
Originally a seventh-round pick, Nalen went on to make five Pro Bowls and earn the NFL's Offensive Lineman of the Year award following the 2003 seasons.
His 13 career postseason starts are tied for third-most in team history, as Nalen was part of seven playoff teams, three division champions and two Super Bowl winners.
Before he helped pave the way for NFL offenses that ranked in the top five in total yards in eight different years, Nalen was a three-year starter at Boston College. With the Eagles, he earned third-team AP All-America, second-team All-Big East and first-team ECAC honors.
Nalen attended Rod Smith's induction into the Ring of Fame last season, and now will have a ceremony of his own at halftime of the Broncos' Week 4 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"That's pretty cool," Nalen said. "My name's going to be in the stadium."
"It's pretty wild."