The number of retired players suing the NFL for its handling of head injuries has grown almost daily, to the point where there are now 90 lawsuits pending on behalf of 2,397 league alumni. Until now, it's been a bit difficult to keep track of the ex-Broncos among those seeking damages.
But thanks to the Washington Times, we now have a convenient and sortable table to track the plaintiffs. Among them are 154 former Broncos, including players from all five decades of the team's existence prior to the current one.
The cynical view suggests that some of these players are suing for financial gain. But there are far too many names, some of great fame and magnitude, for this to be solely about a money grab.
Yes, there are marginal players on the list. But there are also HOFers, Ring of Famers, All-Pros, Pro Bowlers, Super Bowl players, and Super Bowl champions. Every position is represented, with even a kicker and three punters to round out the list.
Unless you've just become a Denver fan in the past few years, you're going to see plenty of familiar names, and there's a good chance your favorite Broncos are represented here.
And while it can be easy at times to brush off players' claims by suggesting they knew what they were getting themselves into, or that they were well compensated along the way, understand that some of these men can no longer call to mind some of the very memories that flood your own mind with a simple mention of their names.
One of these former Broncos went so far as to take his own life - possibly because the pain and suffering caused by his NFL playing career was too great to handle.
Here are some of the notable ex-Broncos on the list:
Two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Tony Dorsett, Floyd Little
Six of Denver's Ring of Famers: Goose Gonsoulin, Randy Gradishar, Tombstone Jackson, Floyd Little, Karl Mecklenburg, Dennis Smith
Six All-Pros: Randy Gradishar, Goose Gonsoulin, Mike Horan, Tombstone Jackson, Floyd Little, Karl Mecklenburg
Thirteen Pro Bowlers: Michael Brooks, Dave Costa, George Goeddeke, Goose Gonsoulin, Randy Gradishar, Gaston Green, Mike Horan, Tombstone Jackson, Larry Kaminski, Floyd Little, Karl Mecklenburg, Anthony Miller, Dennis Smith
Two members of the 1960 expansion Broncos: Al Carmichael, Goose Gonsoulin
Twelve members of the 1977 Super Bowl team: Rubin Carter, Bucky Dilts, Ron Egloff, Larry Evans, Steve Foley, Randy Gradishar, Paul Howard, Jim Jensen, Andy Maurer, Claudie Minor, Chris Pane, Godwin Turk
Twenty-eight members of the 1986, 1987, and/or 1989 Super Bowl teams: Ken Bell, Melvin Bratton, Michael Brooks, Alphonso Carreker, Rubin Carter, Jeremiah Castille, Mark Cooper, Kirk Dodge, Steve Foley, Mike Freeman, Mike Harden, Mike Horan, Paul Howard, Ricky Hunley, Daniel Hunter, Daryll Jones, Bruce Klosterman, Gene Lang, Ken Lanier, Karl Mecklenburg, Ricky Nattiel, Gerald Perry, Randy Robbins, Dennis Smith, Dave Studdard, Gerald Willhite, Steve Wilson, Ken Woodard
Twelve members of the 1997 and/or 1998 Super Bowl champion teams: Glenn Cadrez, Byron Chamberlain, Willie Green, Howard Griffith, Seth Joyner, Mike Lodish, Derek Loville, Tim McKyer, Tito Paul, David Richie, Maa Tanuvasa, Keith Traylor
Several products of Denver's 1,000-yard running back factory: Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Reuben Droughns, Olandis Gary
- The widow of the late Shane Dronett, who committed suicide in 2009 and was found later to have been suffering from CTE
Just as intriguing as the names on this list are those that are missing, including those who work for the franchise (John Elway, Billy Thompson), and those who are still making a living off of analyzing the NFL on TV and/or radio (Brian Griese, Tom Jackson, Dave Logan, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Sharpe, David Treadwell, Alfred Williams).
(via USA Today)