Public Invited to Cheer On Down Syndrome Athletes June 22 at Ed McCaffrey DARE to PLAY Football Camp

We’ve been busy this summer with the first ever DARE to PLAY football and cheer camp in Annapolis Maryland, and the third annual Ed McCaffrey DARE to PLAY Highlands Ranch camps as well. These two camps are presented in conjunction with Global Down Syndrome, a Denver non-profit near and dear to Ed’s heart.

Said Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of GDS Foundation, “We are so pleased and grateful to be able to work with Ed McCaffrey on this camp. By providing a safe and accepting environment for individuals with Down syndrome, we hope to attract football players and cheerleaders who essentially had never dared to play before.”

After the highly successful Annapolis camp, which featured guest coaches Brian Billick and Mike Shanahan, Ed said, “I am deeply committed to the work of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. I want to make a positive difference not only for Down syndrome individuals, but also for the typical high school or collect football players who may not know the value of having a friend who is differently-abled. Diversity and giving kids a chance to reach their potential is what these camps are all about.”

The Highlands Ranch, CO camp will have some more of the NFL’s finest, with Brian Dawkins and Coach Jack Del Rio on hand to coach our lucky campers. On the last day of the camp, they will take to the field for a scrimmage game, complete with a professional announcer, a half-time show put on by the members of the DARE to CHEER camp (who have been coached by, who else, the fab Denver Cheerleaders) and a rocking after party with music, food, and entertainment.

The public is invited to this event, which will take place at Valor Christian High School, June 23, 2012, starting at 11am. Please come on down and show your support for our intrepid campers. Help them have an experience they will never forget… hope to see you there!

Click here for directions to Valor Christian High.

Blog: Ed’s Take–April 9, 2011

Blog: Ed’s Take—April 9, 2011

We’re less than three weeks away from the NFL Draft! As a fan, does it feel like the Draft is the one thing that is normal about the NFL right now, with the lockout in place?

Thinking about the Draft and who might go where makes it a little easier to forget about the lockout for the moment. With the Broncos having the No. 2 overall pick it’s even more exciting. As we’ve talked about, whether they draft there or trade down and collect more picks, it’s a lot more exciting for the fan this year.

The Broncos re-signing of Champ Bailey, in my mind, makes it a high priority to focus on solidifying the defensive line with their first pick. When you’re strong up front, the rest of your defense is just that much better.

If they want an interior defensive lineman, Marcell Dareus from Alabama and Nick Fairly from Auburn are the two who attract the most attention as potential game-changers. If it’s a defensive end they want for their 4-3 defense, Robert Quinn from North Carolina and Da’Quan Bowers from Clemson are two great options. And there are many others beyond the four who project to be good NFL players.

All might be great picks, but the biggest question, more than whether they prefer an end or a tackle, is whether any of the four are worthy of being the No. 2 pick in the minds of John Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders. It’s a deep draft for defensive linemen, and the Broncos’ needs are plenty. Trading down, still getting one of the four, and acquiring more picks might be the best play for this team right now.

OK fans, you play GM/Coach: Which way do you go?

Blog: Ed’s Take–March 16, 2011

Ed’s Take–March 16, 2011

It’s time for March Madness, and I love it!

Though I made my mark in football, basketball has been a huge part of my life. I played it through high school, and both my brothers and sister played through college. My family has always had “hoop dreams,” and now my sons play too.

No matter if you have a team in the NCAA tournament or not, most people have some connection with the tournament by participating in a bracket pool. It’s amazing to me how big that trend has become. I’m guessing the internet and the opportunity to take part in online bracket challenges has fueled that growth.

I could study the teams all day and still have my bracket go haywire by the end of the first weekend.

How about you? Do you fill out a bracket? What method do you use to pick your winners: In-depth study? Pick all the higher seeds? Go by uniform colors and mascots?

Tell me what strategy you use!

Blog: Ed’s Take–Feb. 23, 2011

Ed’s Take–Feb. 23, 2011

The 2011 NFL Draft is just two months away. Regardless of whether the labor agreement is worked out by then, the Draft is scheduled for April 28-30.

With the scouting combine getting underway in Indianapolis this week, the Denver Broncos took care of a major offseason priority yesterday by re-signing free-agent-to-be Champ Bailey. This move also allows the team to sharpen its focus on its draft preparation with the No. 1 cornerback spot solidified.

So, what should the Broncos do with that No. 2 overall pick? If they identify a guy with at that spot who they feel will be an impact player, who will change their team, then I think they have to take him.

If, on the other hand, they feel like the best guy at that spot is no better than the guys they already have on their team, and they don’t see any future potential of him being better than what they have, they should trade the pick and acquire more players with it. They should try to get as many athletic guys as they can on the team and coach them up in the mold of the player they’re looking for.

Broncos fans, what would you do with that No. 2 overall selection?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Feb. 16, 2011

Ed’s Take–Feb. 16, 2011

After a great Super Bowl to end another fantastic NFL season it has been disappointing as a fan to see the conversation shift now to the labor battle between the owners and the players.

Having played the game I’m all for seeing everything be done to protect players and make sure they are are taken care of in the best way for the risks they take and the long-term health implications. And I also understand that owners have business to run and need to protect their interests.

But in the end, I think fans are reluctant to take a side in the issue because they just want to see football, and have a hard time sympathizing with either side when the game is so popular and fans play a big role in supporting it.

Does that describe your feelings as a fan, or are you on one side or the other?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Feb. 11, 2011

Ed’s Take–Feb. 11, 2011

Broncos fans had a reason to rejoice last weekend with Shannon Sharpe’s election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What a great achievement for a true professional with whom I was proud to play for so many years.

Being around guys like Shannon helped me prepare even better than I had before. He made me realize what more I could do, because he did everything he could possibly think of doing to prepare for playing the game of football. He left nothing to chance. Football was his life and you could see the desire he had to be great.

With Shannon in the Hall we’re starting to change to history of this proud franchise being under-represented in Canton! The Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor for a player, and it’s terrific to see more Broncos recognized.

Next up, in my opinion, should be T.D., Terrell Davis. He was a 2,000-yard rusher, a league MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and had seven consecutive postseason games with more than 100 rushing yards, on top of the many he had in the regular season. He was great, and was at his best when the games counted most. The only thing the voters hold against him is longevity, but he was the best in the business when he played.

Which former Bronco do you think deserves to go in next?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Feb. 4, 2011

Ed’s Take–Feb. 4, 2011

Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup is one great tradition in NFL history. Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh. Two iconic, storied franchises. And just as they’re in a virtual dead-heat in terms of their tradition, I see this game as a tight matchup that could go either way.

For the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing phenomenal football right now. The playoff run he has been on is right up there with the best who have ever played the position. With the exception of a portion of the Chicago game, Rodgers has been on fire, and so has the Packers’ offense.

For the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger has been his usual self, avoiding pressure and extending plays—just what they need from him with that very well-balanced, veteran team. Green Bay does need to try to put pressure on him. The worst thing they can do is to sit back and let Big Ben pick them apart.

Pittsburgh will want to play smash-mouth, tough football on both sides of the ball, and the Packers will have to match their intensity. I see this as a good matchup, and a close game, but I’m giving the edge to Green Bay.

I’ll never count Pittsburgh out. They’re a talented team with players who have won championships before, but I just think this is Green Bay’s year.

Who is your pick?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Feb. 2, 2011

Ed’s Take–Feb. 2, 2011

Having been fortunate to play in three Super Bowls, it’s always fascinating to me to watch the coverage each year of Media Day, and the circus surrounding it.

The misnomer of Media Day is in the fact that it’s not the only day the media have access to the teams. They have a media session every day you’re there. Media Day on Tuesday of Super Bowl week evolved out of the original Picture Day, and it takes place at the stadium. Other than that, it’s not unique—except for the zany characters from the non-sports media they let in.

It’s often said, though, that the team that embraces the hoopla and handles the spectacle best will prevail on game day. While talent and preparation will be the biggest factors, there’s some truth to that statement.

My first Media Day, with San Francisco in 1994, was uneventful. I sat in my assigned spot while the stars manned their podiums, and I don’t think one person came up and talked to me the whole hour.

Contrast that with the scene four years later, when our Broncos team was defending champs and favored to beat Atlanta. That was the year Shannon Sharpe and the Falcons’ Ray Buchanan got into a good-natured war of words that started with Buchanan wearing a dog collar to Media Day to play up their underdog status. I’ll just say this: You don’t get into a war of words with Shannon Sharpe and win. Trust me. Bad move.

The year before, when we were 13-point underdogs to Green Bay our challenge was to bite our tongues and follow Coach Shanahan’s orders to keep a low profile, when we were very confident we would win.

Even Shannon followed the script. We unleashed our pent-up energy on game day and let our play do the talking, and the rest is history.

Which team do you think will best handle the hype this year, Pittsburgh or Green Bay?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Jan. 27, 2011

Ed’s Take–Jan. 27, 2011

New Broncos coach John Fox put the final pieces of his coaching staff together this week, and all eyes are on new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

Coach Fox comes from a from a defensive background himself, and he wants toughness in his team. He wants guy who will hit you, punish you and gang-tackle all over the field. He wants to create more of a swarming defense that can force turnovers and get to the quarterback.

Fox is familiar with Allen from their recent time spent in the NFC South. Allen was most recently the Saints’ defensive backs coach, and before that was with the Atlanta Falcons, so they have a great deal of familiarity with one another from a football standpoint.

The coaching staff is the first step, but the defensive personnel is even more important. For an immediate boost, getting a healthy Elvis Dumervil back will help any coaching staff look better. He’s a tremendous talent, whose absence in 2010 hurt the Broncos’ defense immensely.

Broncos fans just want to see consistency on the defensive side of the ball. Allen is the team’s sixth defensive coordinator in six years. The key to successful defense is having a few stud players and a core group of guys who can play together a few years and not only learn the defense thoroughly, but develop an identity and an attitude that carries over to their performance.

As an offensive player, I love to see a team air out and score points, but when trying to change the attitude of an entire organization and return to a winning tradition, nothing does that more quickly than a smash-mouth tough defense that strikes fear in opponents.

What do you think? Do the Broncos’ recent moves give you confidence they’re headed in that direction?

Blog: Ed’s Take–Jan. 12, 2011

Ed’s Take–Jan. 12, 2011

The great part about doing a weekly radio show on 87.7 FM The Ticket is that it gives me a chance to talk about the biggest stories in sports.

News came over the weekend that my former Denver Broncos teammate Shannon Sharpe has made the cut to 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. He’s made it to this round all three years he’s been eligible, and I think this is the year. The Hall of Fame is the ultimate individual honor you can receive in the NFL. Being acknowledged in that way in front of your peers is huge, and it’s one Shannon deserves.

Shannon was the ultimate pro: On the football field, in the weight room and on the practice field he gave you everything he had all the time. Without a doubt he belongs among the greatest players in the game.

Also front and center this week is the Broncos’ head coaching search. They’ve been interviewing candidates since Sunday and one I’m very familiar with is Rick Dennison. “Rico,” as he is known, was an assistant coach on the Broncos teams I played for. He is a great guy, incredibly intelligent and has an unbelievable football mind. Rico climbed up the ranks from special teams coach to position coach to coordinator. I think he would be a great fit for Denver. He’s a class act, family man, husband, father, great coach, a hard worker and a smart guy.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout-out to D.J. Davis from Montbello, who finished his college career with Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game Monday night. The Ducks came up short, but Davis played great and represented Colorado and the Montbello community well, as he always has. It was good to see a Colorado kid represent the state so positively. If you want to know more about D.J. Davis you should read this great piece from the Denver Post.

What are your thoughts? Should Shannon Sharpe go in the Hall of Fame this year? Whom do you want to be the Broncos next head coach?

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