This is a very sad day, very much on par with the Baltimore game and the Jacksonville game.....albeit not unexpected, so perhaps that made it easier.
I want to express my gratefulness to DJ for being an excellent starter for us for 8 straight years. That's very hard to find. Especially where someone's got alot of ability and gets moved around and dicked around and still is able to make significant contributions at a wide variety of positions and in both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive fronts for multiple coaches. I very much appreciate him putting his ego aside and being unselfish by playing out of position even though it stunted his career and the team unfortunately wasn't held accountable for its own stupidity and pigheadedness in this regard. I know some have suggested that he was a selfish player and were glad to see him go, but that's actually the exact opposite of selfishness. Someone who could have demanded a trade and went on to be a stud at WLB in a place that had actually good defensive linemen to help him out, and a continuity of scheme and coordinators, but rather just did his job whether it be at Sam, Mike, in the 3-4 or the 4-3 and did it quietly and effectively, without complaint is far from selfish. It's a sad testament to the ungratefulness of Denver fans that you see these types of comments. This is not to say he was without some faults. His game had some holes, even though overall he was a very good player and an excellent athlete (and in my own opinion, he had at least two Pro Bowl caliber seasons, and that is even apart from the one year he was an alternate). It's a shame he was treated as shabbily as he was by the team (and some of the fanbase). To be sure, over the course of his nine years here, he did have a few off the field incidents that marred his otherwise solid reputation in the lockerroom. Its unfortunate that top brass wasn't exactly a role model for players to follow in this area, but ultimately each person is responsible for their own actions and that's how it should be IMO. He made some key errors in that regard and naturally paid the price that was due for it.
Among the many things I will remember fondly are his amazing rookie year at WLB and his Pro Bowl quality season in 2008 again at WLB before it was interrupted by injury in the Dolphins game. I can't recall the last time we had a LB as versatile as he was. In 2009 and 2010, even Satan himself admitted that he was a great player (despite not drafting him) and he began contributing substantially even in the area of sacks, where he tied for the team lead one season and matched that same total again. I will always be proud of the fact that DJ was almost perennially the team's leading tackler and was very consistent and yes....he did also make big plays as well, contrary to popular thought. I'm reminded of the game saving TFL against NO in 2008, a b****slapping of LT and Rivers in 2009 in SD, the impaling of Roy Williams and alot of key plays at important moments in his shortened 2011 season, with the strip-sack at Miami and the Chicago game.
It was a pleasure to have my favorite recruit from the 2000 class join my favorite college team and then be drafted by my favorite pro team. Wouldn't trade having him here from 04-12 for the world (or for Steven Jackson, who was not even Denver's top choice at RB as he was judged not to be a good ZBS system fit. One wonders why people would grouse at an 8 year starter at LB when the alternative was Michigan's Chris Perry, who flamed out of the league fairly quickly?) Thank you for all your contributions here, DJ. It's too bad much of the fanbase did not appreciate what you brought to the table. I know each and every head coach you had definitely did and went out of their way to say it. I also know people wished for someone more extroverted at the LB position, perhaps our fans would have preferred more of a loudmouth and an attention whore, but I'm glad you did your thing consistently week to week quietly and helped to create a positive atmosphere for young players, even those players who eventually would take your job. I know Woodyard is a big fan of DJ and has said that more than once. I'm sure he appreciates all the help you gave him during his career, just as you appreciated what Big Al did for you in showing you the ropes. Thanks for everything, including work you did in the community which does not get much pub.
You will ALWAYS be in that top pantheon of Broncos to me, right alongside Elway and Cutler. There's no defender I've ever liked better or will ever like better. You will always be my all-time adopt a Bronco.
Goodbye DJ and I hope you catch on somewhere else and kick some serious ass. I wish you all the best.