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Joel Dreessen Lives out dream by playing tight end for Broncos

Joel Dreessenwas like so many other teenage boys living in Colorado in the 1990s.

His bedroom closet at his parents’ home in Fort Morgan was full of T-shirts bearing the names and numbers of Broncos stars such as Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe and Rod Smith. And when Dreessen took to his backyard for a game of pickup football, he pretended he was John Elway.

“I was the biggest Broncos fan ever,” Dreessen said Thursday. “I can’t tell you how many times I threw the football up to myself in the backyard pretending I was John Elway. I did it so many times. I was a sophomore and junior in high school in 1997 and ’98 when they were winning the Super Bowl, so I was skipping class to try to get down to Denver to go to the parades.”

Dreessen, a 29-year-old tight end who went to Colorado State, chose to sign with the Broncos instead of the Texans last month after taking several free-agent visits. It was a personal text message from Dreessen’s childhood hero that sealed the deal.

All apologies to coachGary Kubiak, but the Texans never had a chance.

“It was basically a text message Mr. Elway sent me. It was like, ‘Joel, I think you’re going to be wildly successful here in Denver.’ That was kind of a selling point for me,” Dreessen said, laughing, noting that he made sure to save Elway’s cellphone number.

While Dreessen described the chance to come home to Colorado as a blessing, he said he had to quickly morph from Broncos fan to Broncos player. Offseason workouts started this week, and now Dreessen is on the field with new quarterbackPeyton Manningas part of a revamped tight end group that includes former Colt

Jacob Tamme, who also signed as a free agent last month.


“I’m here to find another level to my career, and that’s a big reason why I left Texas,” Dreessen said. “I wanted to find another level to myself. Mr. Elway, Peyton and Coach (John) Fox have me believing in my opportunity here, and I’m going to work to get better and to be the best I possibly can be. I could have played it safe and gone back to Houston and played my same role, or I could take a little more risk and try to find a little more reward with my career.”

That the Broncos wound up landing both Dreessen and Tamme is yet another sign of the wholesale changes the team is making with Manning at quarterback. Broncos tight ends caught only 30 passes, for 402 yards and three touchdowns, in the 2011 season. In 2010, Manning’s last healthy season in Indianapolis, Colts tight ends caught 112 passes for 1,029 yards and seven scores. Tamme was responsible for about half that total — 67 catches, 631 yards and four touchdowns.

Dreessen had 28 catches for 353 yards and six touchdowns for Houston last year.

As the Broncos gathered at Dove Valley for the first time this week, tape of that Colts’ offense — and the way Manning used the tight ends — was part of the classroom work.


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Joel Dreessen lives out dream by playing tight end for Broncos – The Denver Post
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