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Sacco Sez: 2016 Ring of Fame class is all class

It is an honor to sit on the Denver Broncos' Ring of Fame committee, which is also composed of team President & CEO Joe Ellis, former general manager John Beake, my first defensive coordinator, Joe Collier, and my first and last radio voices for team broadcasts, Larry Zimmer and Dave Logan.

That group is all class. Like them, so is the 2016 Ring of Fame class which we voted in on Tuesday.

The Broncos' Ring of Fame grew by three Tuesday with the election to induct K Jason Elam, OLB/DE Simon Fletcher and S John Lynch.

Numerous pieces already have been written on kicker Jason Elam, linebacker/defensive end Simon Fletcher and safety John Lynch, so I will not list all their accomplishments here.

We have Elam, the team's all-time leading scorer, who leads all other scorers by 1,000 points.

We have Fletcher, the team's all-time leader in sacks, by a huge margin of 22 over second place, another Ring of Famer, Karl Mecklenburg.

And we have John Lynch, the only Bronco in history to play four seasons in Denver and make the Pro Bowl all four years, in addition to being a team captain all four years. Lynch also becomes the first Bronco to go into two Rings of Fame in the same year, as he will receive a similar honor from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 as well.

But I always remember the style, grace and class with which each of these three gentlemen carried himself.

They played 30 combined seasons in the Mile High City and as their public relations director I never got one phone call at home due to a problem that involved any of them.

They were popular in the locker room and part of the legendary Broncos' culture of winning, which comes down directly from the top, from team owner Pat Bowlen, who started the Ring of Fame as soon as he bought the team, as a way to honor our greatest players and tie them forever to Broncos Country.

I talked to Elam after his selection and it is no surprise that he now is studying for his doctorate degree, having already conquered the worlds of flying and book authorship. Jason has always been about expanding his horizons and he will become just the third Bronco with an academic doctorate, joining fellow Ring of Famers Charley Johnson and Floyd Little.

Of course, he has the distinction of being the only kicker in pro football history to set the record for longest field goal (63 yards, which has since been broken by former Bronco Matt Prater) and also be the kicker for a team to win back-to-back world championships.

"Fletch," which I call him far more often than Simon, is a Texas native who liked Denver enough to stay here, and I have always found that pretty cool.

He is in the restaurant business now, which gives him a great chance to talk his customers' ears off, something at which Fletch is politely adept.

His locker room presence made him very popular with his teammates, but I will always remember his quiet sense of responsibility with his family. When we drafted Fletch, he was an outstanding player at the University of Houston, and he doted on his young daughter, "Miss Pinky," to a degree one would not expect from a young man his age. Very classy.

Fletch was a starter on three Super Bowl teams, with Denver being the only AFC team to play in the big game three times in the 1980s.

Lynch might be the only free agent ever to sign with the Broncos and then hand out T-shirts at his first press conference. The T-shirts did not promote John but his charity. Coming to a new city from Tampa, he wanted to make sure his charity got off on the right foot with local writers and broadcasters.

Of course, it did, and so did John Lynch, one of the great leaders in team history and a great safety who played the pass and run with equal vigor for Denver.

After setting a career high with 10 passes defensed in his first year with the Broncos in 2004, Lynch established personal bests with four sacks and four forced fumbles in 2005 to become the first safety since Rod Woodson in 1992 to reach those totals in a single season.

It is no surprise to anyone that John has gone on to a great career as an NFL game commentator on Fox. If ever there was a natural, it was John.

He once told me that he was yelled at by a coach -- just once. It was in a baseball game while he was a two-sport star at Stanford. It seems the Cardinal was playing at Pepperdine, and the Pepperdine field directly overlooked the Pacific Ocean. John was in right field and he says he became mesmerized by the gently crashing waves, causing a coach to laughingly call his attention back to the batter at the plate.

One of the measures of a man is the company he keeps, and the statistics of the individuals surrounding these three men are such that the others are an almost-complete list of Pro Football Hall of Famers and Ring of Famers for their respective teams.

In fact, Lynch has been a three-time finalist for induction into Canton, and I am hoping the fourth time is the charm.

Each of them brought their own brand of personal charm and professionalism into the locker room, and it was a pleasure to have a role in selecting Jason Elam, Simon Fletcher and John Lynch into the Ring of Fame.

All three match the goals which Mr. B set when he established the Ring more than three decades ago, continuing the Bronco legacy of championships and class that makes so many fans so proud.

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