ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A trio of former players is heading into the Denver Broncos' Ring of Fame: kicker Jason Elam, linebacker Simon Fletcher and safety John Lynch.
Owner Pat Bowlen, who was inducted last year, created the Ring of Fame in 1984 to honor players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise's history.
Elam played the first 15 of 17 NFL seasons in Denver, where he's the all-time leader in field goals and points.
Fletcher spent his entire career (1985-95) with the Broncos and is the franchise's all-time sacks leader with 97½. He appeared in 172 consecutive games and never missed a game in his career.
Lynch played four seasons (2004-07) in Denver and was a Pro Bowler each season.
Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said, “I think it was just a matter of looking at the different eras and deciding which players were worthy and their eligibility. It’s not the first year John Lynch was available, but certainly he merited more discussion this year. Jason has been in the conversation right from the get-go when he was eligible. And Simon had been in the conversation for many, many years, but had never gotten the final—hadn’t gotten the ball across the goal line I guess with the committee. Some of those meetings I was a part of and some I was not, but this year definitely I think the feelings and the sentiments were very strong. It’s three distinct players from three sort of distinct eras. You had Simon in a great era from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, and then Jason came a long and he was a part of that great period of time when the team won [two] Super Bowls. John Lynch after we won the Super Bowl in ‘98, comes on in 2004 and plays for four years and really performs well and becomes a team leader. He gets us over the hump where we got very close to the Super Bowl if you remember in 2005. I think we kind of looked at them from three distinct perspectives. The conversation was great. It was lively and all three were deserving.”
Jason Elam said, “It's a huge honor, probably the biggest individual honor I've ever received. To be able to go in with [S] John Lynch and [LB] Simon Fletcher, two great former teammates and great people, it's just a pretty amazing deal. I'm really happy for them and I consider it a great honor for myself. It's a really amazing thing to kind of look around at the people that are in the Ring of Fame. I don't feel like I should be named with those people. To have that honor and to have that kind of appreciation from the selection committee and from the Broncos is incredible.”
Simon Fletcher said, “For someone who had in recent years barely shut his mouth, I'm speechless. But when I started coming back to my senses, the first thing I realized and thought about was all the guys [with whom] I had the privilege of playing on the Denver Broncos football team, and one guy that I had the privilege of playing for deserves as much credit for this honor as I could ever hope to deserve myself. As you know, being sports writers, you don't make a play—particularly a quarterback sack—unless you have guys protecting the other gaps, containing on the other side and great coverage in the backfield, as well as coaches who call the right things, the right plays to put you in the right position. So it's a credit to everybody.”
John Lynch said, “I didn’t even know they were voting. I think I was surprised because I had no idea this was even going on. So that was the biggest surprise. Once I heard it, I suppose so, but you know, I think a lot of people say this, and I certainly feel it: It feels like I was in Denver and a member of the Broncos longer than four years. They were four impactful and meaningful years, not only for me on the field kind of coming back in the second stage of my career after neck surgery and proving to myself and everyone that I still had some left in me, and also for our family. It became our home for a long, long time and a very big part of our lives.”