Monday, April 17, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ryan Harris at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

Super Bowl 50 Champion Ryan Harris is a 10 year veteran of the NFL.  Ryan was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2007 where he played offensive tackle. Ryan also played for  the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and most recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryan played college football at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated two degrees in Economics and policy, and Political Science. Ryan is originally from Minnesota and currently resides with his family in Denver, CO.

Off the field, Ryan believes that together we can change the world. He believes that "It is your right to be extraordinary."  that when we embrace that right, we will create positive change in the world. Through our commitment to educate ourselves, invest in our communities and act on our passions, real change happens.

We hosted Ryan at our April 2017 meeting of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club.  And oh what a meeting it was!  Ryan gave an awesome speech.  He skillfully weaved in stories from his NFL playing days (especially his experiences on the Super Bowl 50 Broncos championship team) and turned those into life lessons that inspired us all.   After his speech he took questions from our group of longtime Bronco fans.  I paraphrase some of his comments below.

The Super Bowl Ring

As the picture above shows, Ryan was wearing his Super Bowl 50 ring - a ring with 212 diamonds.  "When I played for the Steelers last year, some of my new teammates said 'we should have beat you!' (in the AFC divisional round, a game where the Broncos came back in the 4th quarter to win 23-16).  In response I just showed them the final score embedded in the ring."

Key to the SB 50 Champions

"We had great leaders on that team.  DeMarcus Ware was the best leader I ever played with.  DeMarcus would give me tips during a game.  Peyton Manning would frequently quiz us to make sure we understood the game plan.  The veteran leadership on that team was so important to our success.  We had fun, too.  Peyton would sing after every win."

On Yoga

"I've done yoga for 15 years.  Other players would laugh at me.  Then in the past two years many of my teammates started doing yoga, too!"

On the SB 50 coaching staff

"Gary Kubiak was phenomenal.  He understood us since he once was an NFL player.  Rick Dennison (Rico) was amazing, too.  Rico believed in me - he recruited me to the Houston Texans and again to the Broncos when he came back to work on Kubiak's staff.  Rico changed my life."

Who was the toughest pass rusher you faced?

Von Miller
Tamba Hali KC Chiefs
Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens

"When I came back to the Broncos I was happy I wouldn't have to face Von twice a year, then I realized I had to go against him every day in practice!  Von would tell me 'you did your film work' if I stopped him on one play, then say 'are you ready for this?' before beating me with a new move.  Playing the offensive line is like being a pitcher in baseball.  You can't throw a fastball with every pitch.  I had to constantly come up with new strategies to stop the top pass rushers like Von."

Who will play left tackle for the Broncos?

"Donald Stephenson is capable.  Ty Sambrailo played well when he was healthy."

Should the Broncos take a tackle in the first round of the upcoming draft?

"No.  Cam Robinson of Alabama is projected to go in the first round.  Alabama does not play a pro style offense.  Ryan Ramcyzk of Wisconsin is another projected 1st rounder.  He only played one year at tackle in college.  I like Texas A&M's Avery Gennesy in the second round or Florida State's Roderick Johnson in a later round."

On who this year's starting quarterback will be:

"Both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are talented.  Trevor has started 14 NFL games and made some great throws last year.  John Elway wants to win games and Trevor's experience gives him the edge."

What's the loudest stadium you have played in?

"Any game in Seattle.

Playing at Kansas City in our Super Bowl 50 season.

But the loudest was the AFC Championship game against the Patriots when we stopped New England on the game clinching two point conversion.  That noise was filled with joy (of the Bronco fans)."

Ryan graciously stayed a few minutes to talk to QB Club members individually after his speech, signing many autographs. 

As a recently retired athlete, you can hear Ryan weekdays at 3PM on AM 950 Altitude Radio's the Kreckman and Harris. Tune in, subscribe to the shoes podcast, or come hear him as speaks around the nation and become a part of his mission to change the world.