"I gave it my all"
Former quarterback Jake Plummer said that in describing his playing career to a Denver Broncos Quarterback Club audience on Thursday night. Jake mesmerized the crowd with stories of his playing days along with giving us his observations of the Broncos today and the NFL. I summary of some of his comments below:
On new Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak:
Gary Kubiak is a great coach. He did a lot for me in my career. He would fight for me when I disagreed with Mike Shanahan. He sees the game at different angles. The Broncos offense will be lethal with either Peyton or Brock under Gary's guidance. I shed tears when Kubes left the Broncos.
(Kubiak was Jake's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in his first three years with the Broncos - 2003 to 2005. Given Jake's glowing praise for Kubiak this night it's not surprising that Jake's last year with the team (2006) was not as successful. Jake quit the game after the 2006 season)
On growing up in Idaho:
My two older brothers loved football and got me into the game. I was a Raiders fan - Kenny Stabler was my favorite quarterback. I took my nickname "Jake the Snake" from "the Snake Kenny Stabler"
(Jake's mention of the Raiders was the only time all night he drew boos from the crowd :-)
On Broncos owner Pat Bowlen:
He's an amazing person - a class act. The players were always number 1 on Mr Bowlen's list. If something wasn't right Pat would fix it. One time we asked if there could be TV's in our locker room. Mr Bowlen had TV's installed the next week. He'd always be around the team - even participating in our college "pick em" contest for the weekend's games with the players. Having ownership support was a big difference from what I experienced in my time with the Arizona Cardinals. My grandfather had Alzheimer's so I know what Mr Bowlen is going through now.
On Brock Osweiler, like Jake an Arizona State quarterback in college:
We don't know how good Brock is yet. He needs to play right away or get traded. Sitting on the bench another year won't help him. The scout team quarterback these days is told exactly where to throw the ball in practice. When I was on the scout team I didn't do that - I improvised and tested the defense. That made the defense better. Brock has a golden ticket with this offense under Kubiak, he just needs to get experience and play. The clock is ticking on his career.
On his most heartbreaking loss as a Bronco:
The AFC Championship game loss to Pittsburgh at the end of the 2005 season. If we had won, and then won the Super Bowl, I was ready to retire. I didn't want 5 Super Bowl Rings - just one.
On his playing style:
I never scripted anything. I improvised. I had a way of making tacklers miss. That's why they called me The Snake.
On Pat Tillman, ex teammate who was killed in Afghanistan:
Pat was an amazing person. He was always thinking. He treated the people around him wonderfully. He made me appreciate life. He made you want to be better. We need more Pat Tillmans
On the current Broncos team:
Wade will have those boys ballin' on defense. They missed Danny Trevathan a lot this year when Danny got hurt. They need a tight end - like Jordan Cameron of Cleveland.
On his life today:
I live in the Boulder area. I moved back to Colorado because that's where my wife is from (former Bronco cheerleader Kollette Klassen). The kids are the #1 priority at home (he and Kollette have a 4 year old and 1 year old). I work part time at the Pac 12 network - they fly me to San Francisco and I spend a Saturday in the studio watching and commenting on games. I like to go to games and sit in the stands (he periodically attends CU Buff games and Bronco games). I still play handball and I work with coaching kids.
That was just a sample of what Jake shared with us that evening. Jake was very gracious with his time - staying late to talk to every fan, give every autograph, take every picture. I could see why he was so popular with his teammates during his playing days. He may not have been the most talented quarterback in the league, but he had a big heart and really cared about his teammates.
|The line was long afterwards for fans to talk to Jake 1 to 1.|
|This kid was too young to remember Jake's playing days, yet still wanted an autograph|
|The older fans appreciated Jake, too, like this 92 year old celebrating her birthday this night.|
|And I got to talk to Jake too - it's always a thrill for me to meet former Broncos who I cheered for in the past.|