Ben Garland Gets Approval from Air Force to Rejoin Denver Broncos: Fan’s Take
Do you remember the story about the Air Force officer who might have made the 2010 Denver Broncos team if not for his five-year active duty commitment? Well that story has a twist to it that could affect the Broncos in 2012. Ben Garland just received his release from active duty in the Air Force and he’s heading to Denver to begin training with the Broncos.
What is Garland‘s story?
Ben Garland played on the defensive line for the Air Force Academy from 2006-2010. He made second-team All-Mountain West Conference in his senior year when he had 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Despite being undrafted, Garland spent some weeks training with the Broncos before he was required to report for active duty later that summer. Garland was set to start pilot training but requested reassignment in 2011. As pilot training is a 10-year commitment, Garland needed a different career path if he was to take advantage of a possible return to the NFL. That path turned out to be in public affairs.
Garland is able now to utilize an Air Force program that will allow him to turn the remainder of his active duty commitment (three years) into a six-year reserve commitment in public affairs if he signs a contract with the Denver Broncos. Other military members that have been allowed to play in the NFL in lieu of active duty include WR Chad Hall (Philadelphia Eagles in 2011) and DB Caleb Campbell (Kansas City Chiefs in 2011).
Why did he return to the Broncos and not another team?
Josh McDaniels, the head coach for the Broncos at the time, placed Garland on the military/reserve list before the beginning of pre-season in 2010. That meant that the Broncos reserved the rights to Garland until he finished his commitment. It was a no-brainer of a move back in 2010 as Garland clearly wanted to return to the NFL some day. It didn’t count toward the roster, and it claimed a football player who could potentially contribute to the team some day.
Can he make an impact in Denver?
Stories abound of Garland’s effort and drive in his short time with the Broncos in 2010. He’s a 6’5″ lineman who apparently outran Tim Tebow regularly in post-practice sprints. He’s also playing a position (defensive tackle) where depth is an issue. If he can get himself a spot on the roster, fans will most certainly love rooting for this underdog.
Julie is a fanatical football fan who follows the sport 24/7/365. She has lived in Denver since 2001 but followed the Broncos long before that. She’s fortunate enough to live a few minutes from Broncos headquarters and frequently uses her trips to Wendy’s to spy on the facility as she drives past.
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