DENVER- Three former NFL greats discussed Peyton Manning, Pat Bowlen and other NFL topics at a panel during the Broncos' Pregame Luncheon on Thursday.
Former Broncos Rod Smith and Terrell Davis, former Cowboy Michael Irvin and host Dave Logan participated in the lively discussion.
To begin the panel discussion, all three players weighed in on Pat Bowlen and his impact on the NFL and the Broncos. Davis, who played for the Broncos for seven seasons, called Bowlen "the ideal owner."
He said Bowlen would always ask about his family and recalled when he first tore his ACL and the first person to call him after his surgery was Bowlen.
"[I thought] that's an owner that I could play for, that's an owner that—I would run through a brick wall for that man and that's the kind of guy that he was," Davis said.
The three also praised Peyton Manning and his accomplishments. Davis said Manning surpassing Brett Favre as the NFL's all-time touchdown pass leader is a testament to his longevity.
Smith told the crowd about a time when he was asked to speak to the team about social media and being a professional athlete. As he spoke, he noticed Manning taking notes and was impressed that such a successful athlete was still taking notes and learning.
"Enjoy it while you can, you are watching something that is special," Smith told luncheon attendees regarding Manning. "You won't appreciate it until ten years down the road and you look back and say 'Wow, we witnessed something that nobody else has witnessed, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time'.
"As a player, we watch the game just like fans do. It's rare that you have players that are big fans of other players."
Earlier this season, Wes Welker surpassed Smith as the NFL's all-time reception leader for an undrafted player. Smith, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Broncos, praised Welker and his abilities. He called Welker a "student of the game."
"One thing about working with a quarterback with Peyton, you know where he wants you to get," Smith said. "The goal is to get there on time. That's what Wes is good at. If you look at him when you come off the ball and sometimes he bursts for the ball and sometimes he's a little patient off the ball because he understands flow.
"When you play in that slot, I caught a lot of balls in the slot and when you play in that slot you have the whole field you have to contend with so you got to make them look the same and be able to mix it up. He does a great job, he's been doing it like that for years."
The three also talked about the state of the Broncos' defense and Smith complimented the strength of the Broncos' core. He noted that while the DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller get all the press, it's the players like Terrance Knighton in the middle that bolster the defense.
Davis complimented the Broncos and their offseason moves, specifically on defense.
"They don't want to be a team that's just known for its offense," Davis said. "They are starting to gel. They are playing with attitude. You can see it."