Unheralded Broncos RB shoud play more
Vail, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado ” Broncos running back Andre Hall still walks through the grocery store unnoticed.
His buddies continue to raid his refrigerator and his father calls him up to talk baseball, not football.
Nothing has changed for Hall since his 62-yard touchdown run in a 34-20 win over Tennessee on Monday night.
He’s still unheralded.
But his anonymity may soon be ending. Hall, a first-year back out of South Florida, may be pressed into a bigger role Sunday at Chicago. With Travis Henry hampered by a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and Selvin Young bothered by a knee strain, Hall could see even more action.
Henry and Young both sat out practice on Wednesday. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wasn’t sure of their status for the game Sunday with the Bears.
Although, Young insisted he was fine and thought he could possibly play.
“I feel good,” Young said before practice.
Hall wouldn’t mind making his first start against Chicago, a team that cut him last season.
“I’m over the revenge thing,” Hall said. “It’s no big deal. I just want to win.”
Broncos running backs coach Bobby Turner can spot a good tailback in an instant. He has been picking out winners for so long, it’s second nature to him.
He knew right away that Hall had what he was looking for ” quickness, good footwork and toughness.
“A kid can possess all the physical tools ” they can run like a deer ” but I’m looking for players that are tough,” said Turner, who’s been coaching tailbacks for Denver since 1995. “He runs with toughness. He’s not afraid to put his face in there. He’s got all the key tools.”
Hall won’t let his 62-yard run go to his head. It was just one run. He broke through the line, bumped off a few tacklers and was off to the end zone.
“I haven’t been in open field like that in a while,” Hall said. “It felt good.”
Yet he’s had to recount the story over and over. He’s the youngest of nine siblings and they all wanted to hear about his touchdown carry.
“You can picture my phone bill,” he said.
Good thing he recently changed his phone number or he’d be rehashing the story even more.
Then again, his four best friends from St. Petersburg, Fla., are already in town visiting him for Thanksgiving. They spend their free time reliving their grade-school years and playing Madden NFL, where Hall always insists on being the Washington Redskins.
And with the video-game version of Clinton Portis in his backfield, he can’t be defeated.
“Portis is that good. He gets into the open space and he’s gone,” Hall said.
He’s just waiting for the newest version of the game, and hoping he’ll be pictured.
“That would be great,” Hall said.
On his right wrist, Hall has the word “Captain” tattooed in block letters. It’s in honor of his 86-year-old father, Captain Hall, who was an Army engineer in World War II.
“He’s my right-hand man,” Hall explained. “I talk to him all the time. He doesn’t care about football. We just have conversations about life.”
His father owned an ice company and Hall used to lug ice blocks out of the freezer to build up his strength.
“It was fun just moving those blocks,” Hall said.
Working with blocks of ice helped him move around defenders at South Florida. He finished his two-year career as the Bulls’ all-time leading rusher with 2,731 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Despite his resume at South Florida, Hall went undrafted. He was signed and released by Tampa Bay and Chicago last season, before landing on Denver’s practice squad for the final seven weeks of the season.
Hall had eight carries for 19 yard heading into Monday night. But when Young went down with a strained knee, Hall was thrust into the game.
The compact running back raced 62 yards on his first carry against Tennessee. He finished with 89 yards on seven carries.
“You’ve got to step up when someone goes down,” Hall said. “And when you’re called on, you can’t lose a step. You can’t be off one beat.”
Hall’s success on Monday night hasn’t changed his life one bit. Everything’s still the same, right down to his friends continuing to raid his refrigerator.
That’s just the way he likes it.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.