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"He has not disappointed”: Don’t forget about Mike Boone

Zac Stevens Avatar
June 22, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Entering training camp, the Denver Broncos have two position battles behind center. One, of course, is the most talked about position in sports—quarterback.

The other, while it won’t be the center of attention, will be just as competitive of a battle.

Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon will be attempting to hold onto his starting job over second-round rookie Javonte Williams.

“I think there’s enough work to be had for everybody if everybody proves they’re worthy,” Vic Fangio said when asked about the competition between Gordon and Williams for the starting running back job.

Fangio was then quick to add one more name to the mix.

“I think you have to throw Mike Boone in that when you talk about that position too,” the head coach added during mandatory minicamp. “All three of them just need to come back. We’ll carve a role for them. Obviously Melvin is an established back in this league, played good for us last year, and we like him. We obviously like Williams and we like Boone. So you never have enough backs, and I’m confident that there will be enough work for all of them.”

After trading up in the second round to draft Williams out of North Carolina and with Gordon carrying the fourth-largest cap hit in the NFL among running backs at $8.9 million, there’s no question why those two headline Denver’s running back room.

But despite the massive commitment to the Broncos’ top two backs, Fangio has still gone out of his way multiple times during the offseason to remind everyone about Boone.

And there’s a reason why. Since Denver signed Boone in free agency to a two-year, $3.8 million contract, he’s consistently flashed and stood out.

During OTAs and mandatory minicamp, at times it was difficult to tell if Gordon, Williams or Boone were on the field in terms of how they looked. Considering the team has massive investments in Gordon and Williams, that’s a heckuva compliment to a man many believed would be nothing more than a special teams player. In fact, during minicamp, when all three backs were in attendance, Denver wasn’t a two-headed attack, they were a three-headed monster.

“He’s quick’ he’s decisive; he can run,” Fangio said at the end of the offseason program, describing what stands out about Boone. “He’s a great guy, great teammate, works hard. Obviously George [Paton] knew him well from Minnesota. He has not disappointed in any way. Really happy we have him. I think he’s a very capable running back. We think he’ll make a strong contribution to the special teams. Really, really happy to have him; he’s solid.”

After bringing the fourth-year back with him from Minnesota, Paton acknowledged he wasn’t just going to be a special teams player.

“He was playing behind Dalvin Cook, so he didn’t have a lot of opportunity, but when he did have the opportunity, he really produced,” Paton said in March. “I think he’s going to help our room. He’s going to add some special teams to the offensive side of the ball, which we lack. I’m really excited to have Mike Boone here.”

In his three years in Minnesota, Boone only ran the ball 71 times. However, like Paton stated, he took advantage of his opportunities as he averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry. In fact, in one of his two career starts, he rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on an incredible 8.7 yards per carry.

Of course, Boone will still have a prominent role on special teams. Check that. He’ll have a prominent role on all four phases of Denver’s special teams.

“He [was] one of the top special teams players for the Vikings,” Paton said after signing the 5-foot-10, 206-pound back.

In fact, according to special teams coach Tom McMahon, ‘Booney,’ as the coordinator calls him, could have a role returning kickoffs. The only time Boone won’t be on the field is when Denver is on defense. At least for now.

All eyes will be on No. 25 and No. 33 during training camp. But don’t sleep on No. 26. The Broncos won’t be.


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