Editor's Note: This Q&A was published in the 9/18 Gameday program, when the Broncos took on the Seattle Seahawks.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Wide receiver Brandon Stokley joined the Broncos in April after mulling over a possible retirement from the league. Now in his second stint in orange and blue, Stokley is excited to contribute to the new-look Denver offense.
Is it crazy to you how you went from considering retirement to on the verge of entering your 14th NFL season?"It is. I was thinking about retiring not because I was ready to retire, it was more so because I didn't think I'd get another opportunity from another team. Six months later, here I am practicing and playing with Peyton Manning again. It's pretty remarkable to me."
What did it feel like to find out you'd have another shot at playing football?"I didn't know if it was going to happen or not. When it finally did happen, it's a great feeling. But you haven't really accomplished anything yet until you make the team. Until you make the team, nothing's accomplished."
As a veteran, how do you use the preseason to carve out your role with the team?"The preseason for me is like a Super Bowl. Every game is like a Super Bowl. Every practice is like a Super Bowl. That's my mindset going into this whole training camp and preseason games and the regular season. Every time I step out on the field, it's a chance for me to try to make the team and earn a spot and earn some playing time."
What type of relationship do you have with the younger receivers on the squad?"I help those guys out as much as possible and try to help their careers. Anything that I can talk to them about and show them on the football field, I try to do. I remember when I was that age, older guys always helped me out and I appreciated it. I feel like that's one of my roles now – to help them and help them grow in their careers. Whenever I'm done playing, it'd be nice to see them playing for 10, 12, 14 years in the NFL."
Have you enjoyed playing with Manning again?"It doesn't get better than that. I never thought I'd have that chance again when I left Indy and came here (in 2007). To have that opportunity to play with who I think is the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL, it's special."
Do the two of you still have the connection you shared in Indianapolis?"When you have that foundation that you spent four years building in Indy, you have that for life. When we get on the field, it's one of those things where we know what the other is thinking. So it's good to have that and I feel like we've picked up where we left off back in '06."
How does a wide receiver go about earning Manning's trust?"You have to prove it every day in practice, that you're going to be in the right place at the right time in the right spots. When he gives you an opportunity and throws you the ball, you have to catch it and make plays. Really, the only way to earn that trust is to do it every day and be consistent. Whatever receiver it is, if you do that, you'll get a lot of balls thrown your way and you'll have a lot of opportunities to make plays."
What is your impression of Head Coach John Fox?"He's great. He's one of those coaches that if you go out there and you work hard and do the right things, he gives you a lot of respect as a player. I think all guys love playing for somebody like that."
Is he a "player's coach?""I'd say absolutely. For me, it's a guy that treats his players fair. If you go out there and work hard for him, he treats you like a man. I think guys respect that. That's how Coach is."
What did you tell Manning when he visited Denver and stayed at your house?"I told him it's a great organization with great fans. I've decided to make my home here permanently, so it's a great place to live and raise a family. There are really no negatives about coming to play for the Denver Broncos and living here, playing for this organization. All around the board, for me, it's the best in the NFL."
Do you think you had any influence on his decision?"I can't take any credit (laughs). I don't think so. But I just tried to lay it out there and let him know that it is a good place with good people here. If that helped at all -- I don't really, probably think so. But I put my two cents in and was hoping it would help a little bit."
What are your goals for 2012?"For me, it's just try to get better every day and try to help this football team win games. That's what I've always been about -- winning games. I don't set personal goals for stats like catches or yards for a season. Win games. Make the playoffs. Win a Super Bowl. That's the ultimate. Those are pretty much always my goals and they stay the same every year."