Broncos bandwagon

Team's Mile High Salute tour draws fans of all ages

Denver Bronco players David Bruton, left, and Malik Jackson, right, pose for pictures Saturday with the Werren children, Cyan, 11, Anika, 5, and Jacek, 7, during the Broncos’ Mile High Salute to Fans tour stop in Grand Junction. The next stop is today in Rifle.

Rahim Moore might have sunk the Bronco’s postseason hopes when he allowed a late Baltimore touchdown, but with the amount of optimism at the Broncos’ Mile High Salute to Fans Tour, you wouldn’t know it.

It’s like the Broncos already have won the Super Bowl.

The six-day, 20-city tour stopped Saturday morning at the McDonald’s off Highway 6&50. Fans filed in for a visit with Broncos safety David Bruton and lineman Malik Jackson, as well as Broncos cheerleaders and Miles, the mascot.

Mike Arguello, 45, of Grand Junction, had waited in line for 20 minutes to see the two Broncos players. He has been to a couple of games and always caught the Broncos on television, he but didn’t have any autographs.

Arguello walked up to Jackson, who is 6-foot-5, and gave him a powerful high-five before Jackson signed a poster.

“It’s awesome,” Arguello said. “I’ve been to a few games, gotten a few good photos, but it’s amazing that they got players out for events like this.”

Kids posed for photos with players and videos with Miles. Bailey Cowdill, a 7-year-old from Grand Junction, had a Champ Bailey jersey he said his mom bought him when he was younger. He grinned ear to ear as he posed with the two players.

“I like the Broncos,” Cowdill said. “I really like them a lot. I’m not sure how to say (how much I like them). Champ Bailey is my favorite because my name is Bailey.”

Fan support wasn’t limited to kids. Some adults sat on the table between the players and cheerleaders as they posed for photos.

Bruton and Jackson said the fan support across Colorado has been eye-opening.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t know some of these towns even had the amount of people that showed up,” Jackson said. “It’s been awesome. We’ve gotten to go around Colorado, see some places we normally wouldn’t be able to see. We normally wouldn’t get to do this, and it’s been really neat to meet some cool people and some real die-hard fans.”

With great fan support also comes great expectations. Bruton said the Broncos realize that, with such a rabid fan-base, anything less than a championship is unacceptable.

“We have that expectation, we have that confidence, that swagger that was maybe missing before last year,” Bruton said. “We definitely showed it last year, and we just fell short.”

Key offseason additions such as Wes Welker have players and fans excited. Arguello said his expectations were boosted after the Welker signing, and he hopes the receiver can stay healthy.

“Man, if he can stay healthy, (Peyton) Manning and Welker is a dangerous combo,” Arguello said.

Above all, the Broncos are ready to work.

“The guys that were here last year are ready to work, and the guys that are here this year are ready to work,” Jackson said. “I think we’re all on the same page and ready to build to that common goal of winning a championship.”


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