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Old 08-11-2010, 07:02 AM   #1
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Default Time has arrived for Broncos' Haggan

Time has arrived for Broncos' Haggan

The linebacker who has played mainly backup and special teams for the last five years grabs his chance to be the go-to guy.

By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
Posted: 08/11/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

Broncos middle linebacker Mario Haggan tries to get limbered up before Tuesday's practice at Dove Valley. (John Leyba, The Denver Post )Maybe next year. That was how Mario Haggan used to look at things.

Yes, maybe next year. Or the year after. Or the three after that. Suddenly one year turns to six and 73 career games have gone by and you still haven't been the starter in one.

"I did get frustrated, no question," Haggan said. "But I don't look back, because I always told myself through all of that, if I got the opportunity I would be ready to grab it and never look back. So, I'm grabbing it."

And Haggan is not using the rearview mirror. Because with Josh McDaniels' arrival with the Broncos before the 2009 season, Haggan found the open door he needed not only to be a starter but the go-to guy.

A backup linebacker and special-teams player for his five seasons in Buffalo and for the eight games he played for the Broncos under Mike Shanahan in 2008, Haggan's fortunes have certainly shifted.

He was the first player to get a contract extension from the McDaniels-Brian Xanders regime — a two-year extension last September — he started 16 games in the '09 season, was named a team captain in '09 and this year has been lauded for his versatility.

Having been moved in the offseason to an inside linebacker spot, Haggan has moved back to outside linebacker as the Broncos adjust to the loss of Elvis Dumervil in the defense.

"We feel like Mario can do a lot of the things we need," McDaniels said. "He has that versatility we want and the ability to play at a lot of different places. We always try to look at how a player will fit with us, we're not always concerned with what they did somewhere else."

It is one of the amazing quirks in the league that a player can be looked at so differently in different NFL outposts. Where Haggan seemingly couldn't crack the top level of the Bills' depth chart — even in years he believed he should have, Haggan said — he is now part of the Broncos' solution to a number of problems.

"I always

What drives Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan? The thought of looking his mother in the eye and telling her he didn't give it his all. ( Jack Dempsey, The Associated Press )felt like I was a starter-type player," Haggan said. "I just know what type of player that I am. For whatever reason, some of the guys were chosen to play ahead of me. I wasn't mad at them, because I know every guy in this league is trying to beat a guy out."

Where some may let bitterness erode their work habits or their play on the field when things don't go their way, Haggan said he would simply think about his mother, Wanda Burnett, and what he would have to say to her if he was forced to look her in the eye without having given all he could.

Something Haggan now says dates back to his older brother, Michael, going to prison for armed robbery when Mario was in junior high.

"She saw one son go to prison — that was the worst day in her life. I knew I couldn't disappoint her," Haggan said. "My mom worked her whole life, she raised us. I love her, I honor her every day. Not one day has she not gone to work, so I couldn't ever stand there and say I quit on something because it didn't happen the way I think it should have."

It's also why Haggan stays after practice many days working on some special-teams technique with a younger player, or a player newer to the team — Tuesday it was fellow linebacker Akin Ayodele.

He says he's always on the lookout for someone who's walking the path he once did.

"He was one of the first guys to come up to me after I got traded here," said linebacker Joe Mays, who came to the Broncos just after the start of training camp. "He was right there, about special teams, about playing linebacker, about everything. That tells you what he's all about."

"I've talked to about 10 guys already this year, all over the league, who are in what my situation was," Haggan said. "They're trying to fight out of it. I tell them go in and don't let people label you, go to work, and when you get the opportunity seize it.

"But if you don't do the work, when the opportunity comes you won't even know it's there. That's what I tell guys. Work first and be ready. That's what I did."

Jeff Legwold: 303-954-2359 or jlegwold@denverpost.com


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Better late than never
Mario Haggan's career has flourished since Josh McDaniels became Broncos coach.

Before McDaniels

• Five seasons in Buffalo, one in Denver

• 0 starts, 41 tackles, 0 forced fumbles

With McDaniels (2009 season)

• 16 starts, 55 tackles, three forced fumbles

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_15737449


Man I hope he plays lights out it's not hard to get behind a player like him
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:09 AM   #2
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good player....good team leader.....not great. I liken him to someone like Glen Cadrez
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:10 AM   #3
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Go, Mario, Go...
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:20 AM   #4
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:47 AM   #5
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I think Haggan will step in nicely for Dumervil. No, he won't replace him, but will help contribute with plays on the field and leadership in the locker room.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oubronco View Post
"I've talked to about 10 guys already this year, all over the league, who are in what my situation was," Haggan said. "They're trying to fight out of it. I tell them go in and don't let people label you, go to work, and when you get the opportunity seize it.

"But if you don't do the work, when the opportunity comes you won't even know it's there. That's what I tell guys. Work first and be ready. That's what I did."
Awesome quote. What a great attitude... I love that we have guys like this on the Broncos.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:21 AM   #7
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I think Haggan will step in nicely for Dumervil. No, he won't replace him, but will help contribute with plays on the field and leadership in the locker room.
Personally I'd kill for Jarvis Moss to turn into a miracle so Haggan can shift inside with DJ.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:15 AM   #8
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Personally I'd kill for Jarvis Moss to turn into a miracle so Haggan can shift inside with DJ.
There is nothing personal about this statement.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:09 PM   #9
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where is Mock...I need his take on this

I think Haggan will have another good year...I will take 3 forced fumbles from a starter, but this year I want to see atleast 80 tackles from this guy.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:50 PM   #10
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where is Mock...I need his take on this
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:37 PM   #11
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Haggan looked incredible those first few practices at ILB before Elvis and Jarvis went down. Like a bigger, faster Andra Davis. He's an okay OLB but, as a 2-down ILB in the 52 - I think he could be amazing.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:39 PM   #12
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Seize the day. This is his chance.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:24 AM   #13
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I really like Haggan - in a way he is this team's Chukwurah. Great effort, good at a lot of things and keeps plugging away for the team.

After we made the switch to the 3-4 I kept thinking Chucky would have made a really good SOLB for this team.

On another tangent, I still think its interesting that we never saw Larsen dress as an LB with DJ out. I know we don't have any fullbacks left on the roster, but it seems like he could have done well at one of those two inside spots.

Meh, what do I know...
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:06 AM   #14
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Personally I'd kill for Jarvis Moss to turn into a miracle so Haggan can shift inside with DJ.
This.

The silver lining in the cloud that is the torn pec of Doom will be the emergence of Mose as a terror on the end.
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