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BroncoMan4ever
08-09-2009, 01:13 AM
This is the weekend the NFL honors its Hall of Famers, and as it so happens, the Broncos have one in Eddie Royal. Those who say he must accomplish more weren't in Fairfax County, Va., in March for the special hall of fame ceremony at Westfield High School.

"Eddie was reluctant to get inducted," said Gary Morris, Royal's longtime football mentor, "because he didn't want to give a speech."

Funny thing about humble Eddie Royal. For this story, he was asked if he wanted to share anything significant from his personal life that may have come up after his showcase rookie season, in which he had 91 catches, the second-highest first-year total in NFL history.

He never mentioned the high school hall of fame.

"My little nephew is starting to play football," Royal said, his quiet nature now contradicted by his wide smile.

Gilbert is 7. Royal calls him by his nickname, Tashes.

"He gets so excited when he sees me on TV," Royal said. "And now I understand where he's coming from because I'm so excited to see him out there playing."

This is the highlight of Royal's offseason. Is this guy real? This is the guy who shares the same receiver position with Brandon Marshall, an extrovert who can yearn for attention the way a dieting offensive lineman would crave a midnight pizza?

"I like Brandon," Royal said. "We get along very well. We understand each other. We have a great relationship, and that was from the beginning. I couldn't believe how nice he was."

Royal is not flexing as he sits relaxed at a picnic table outside the Broncos' cafeteria, but it's visibly obvious he will be bringing bigger biceps and a thicker chest into his second season.

To better protect him from the pounding a busy receiver will take, Royal has added 5 to 7 pounds of muscle to his 5-foot-10 frame. He still doesn't weigh 190, which means he won't be easy for defenders to cover.

"You see him running a 30-yard route and you wonder if he's jogging or running he's that smooth," Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton said.
Quantifying Royal's skill set creates a discussion among those who are charged with covering him on a daily basis.

"What distinguishes him is he's like Santana Moss in that he has the quickness and the speed," Broncos veteran backup safety Vernon Fox said.

"He kind of reminds me of Steve Smith," cornerback Champ Bailey said.

What about Santana Moss?

"Him too, but Eddie's stronger than him," Bailey said. "I think he's more like Steve Smith — small, strong, plays with an attitude."

Maybe it was a coincidence, but Royal wasn't catching many passes until he was blasted backwards in a collision Tuesday with Tim Crowder.

Royal bounced up from the Crowder pop, tossed the ball at his taunting defensive teammates — then preceded to dominate the next three practices of training camp.

"He'll talk us up a lot — you guys don't hear that," Bailey said.

"These last couple days we've been hitting some routes we missed in the spring," Orton said. "He's a small guy, but he's physical and tough and plays as big as anybody I've ever played with."

From the day Josh McDaniels went from offensive coordinator of the high-powered New England Patriots to Broncos head coach, the assumption has been Royal would play Wes Welker's 100-plus-reception underneath role, and Marshall would take on Randy Moss' big-play role.

The fit isn't that snug. Royal has every bit of Welker's quickness but also has more deep-ball speed than Marshall.
"It's weird because I can't put a label on it, either," Royal said. "Everybody asks me, but I really don't know. I watched film of New England from last year and I'm seeing a bunch of different guys run the routes that I'm going to run. I'm learning every receiver position right now."

Broncos players have been granted a 40-hour furlough from training camp, but Royal is sitting in a small sound room at team headquarters, waiting for another reporter to keep his appointment. The interview is arranged by the Broncos' public relations department. It will be a freezing day in August before Royal sets up his own interviews.

But Royal does what he's told, and besides, he doesn't mind.

"Eddie's biggest asset," Morris said, "is that he's coachable."

As Royal waits, Morris is dropped into the casual conversation. Morris was the high school football coach for Chris Royal, Eddie's older brother. Chris went on to play cornerback for Marshall University and in the arena league.

Many star NFL players will have their agents arrange offseason workouts at chic high-performance training centers, or with expensive speed coaches.

Royal works out each offseason with Morris, a family friend who, after coaching Chris, helped his tag-along younger brother make the conversion from quarterback to receiver in high school.

Did Eddie look up to his older brother?

"I did," he said. "But I look up to everyone in my family. I tell you what, the most unappreciated person in our family is my sister."

Christina Royal became the first African-American female cadet to hold the highest ranking with the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. She is now in the U.S. Air Force, serving in Japan after a tour in Baghdad.

"What she does is way more amazing than what I do," he says. "I was nothing at Virginia Tech compared to her. It's strange, all this attention and honors you get playing football, and she gets none of that. And she doesn't think anything of it. She wants it that way."

Humble Eddie Royal. Is this guy real? Let's say Royal has another 91-catch season and his fame grows. Would he open up, become less careful, less accessible?

"I hope not to change," he said. "I want to be the same guy, especially if you think you're doing things the right way. I've looked up to guys like Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey and all those other receivers who did things that way. I like that style. I like that style of play, I like the way they carry themselves."



i love this guy. i wish we could field a team full of guys like him, Hillis, Larsen, Stokley, Clady, Harris and Kuper.

Hulamau
08-09-2009, 01:28 AM
Was just going to post this one ... good article on 'Our Man Eddie'!

Here's the link: http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_13023852?source=rss


I liked this part:


"....Royal is not flexing as he sits relaxed at a picnic table outside the Broncos' cafeteria, but it's visibly obvious he will be bringing bigger biceps and a thicker chest into his second season.

To better protect him from the pounding a busy receiver will take, Royal has added 5 to 7 pounds of muscle to his 5-foot-10 frame. He still doesn't weigh 190, which means he won't be easy for defenders to cover.

"You see him running a 30-yard route and you wonder if he's jogging or running he's that smooth," Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton said.
Quantifying Royal's skill set creates a discussion among those who are charged with covering him on a daily basis.

"What distinguishes him is he's like Santana Moss in that he has the quickness and the speed," Broncos veteran backup safety Vernon Fox said.

"He kind of reminds me of Steve Smith," cornerback Champ Bailey said.

What about Santana Moss?

"Him too, but Eddie's stronger than him," Bailey said. "I think he's more like Steve Smith — small, strong, plays with an attitude."

Maybe it was a coincidence, but Royal wasn't catching many passes until he was blasted backwards in a collision Tuesday with Tim Crowder.

Royal bounced up from the Crowder pop, tossed the ball at his taunting defensive teammates — then preceded to dominate the next three practices of training camp.

"He'll talk us up a lot — you guys don't hear that," Bailey said.

"These last couple days we've been hitting some routes we missed in the spring," Orton said. "He's a small guy, but he's physical and tough and plays as big as anybody I've ever played with."

lex
08-09-2009, 01:31 AM
I skimmed it and didnt see anything about him going to HS with that spree killer at Va Tech from a year or two ago. Anyone remember that guy? Id almost swear that I read that Eddie went to the same HS as that guy. I really hope Im not confusing it with someone else.

Killericon
08-09-2009, 01:42 AM
plays with an attitude.

I've never thought that about Royal. Awesome.

Hulamau
08-09-2009, 01:46 AM
I skimmed it and didnt see anything about him going to HS with that spree killer at Va Tech from a year or two ago. Anyone remember that guy? Id almost swear that I read that Eddie went to the same HS as that guy. I really hope Im not confusing it with someone else.

Curious first thought from a positive article like that .... Anyway, Eddie was at VT at the same time it happened and was a couple hundred yards away in his dorm or class, if I recall? And he said it was a sad surreal experience ... obviously.