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Louis Wright: The most underrated member of the Broncos?

Ian St. Clair Avatar
July 27, 2015

Sports debates are always a great form of entertainment.

Emotions run high, the blood boils a little hotter and the heart races. With the addition of social media the last 5-10 years, it seems that debate never ends.

Want to amp it up about 100 times? Debate the Denver Broncos. One aspect about Broncos Country is everyone has an opinion and they’re always right. They know more than anyone else … or so think they.

You’re entertainment for this afternoon: Who is is the most underrated player in franchise history?

As we inch closer to the start of training camp and the inevitable talk of who will “shine” and “fail” for the Broncos this season, I decided to focus on a player who doesn’t get enough credit. That’s not good or bad, just someone who was one of the best to ever play his position and he doesn’t the recognition for it – locally or nationally.

The most underrated player in Broncos’ history is cornerback Louis Wright.

Wright was just as good, if not better, than Champ Bailey, who is widely regarded as one of the best players to play in Denver. Bailey is considered a shutdown cornerback who quarterbacks and offenses avoided. If they didn’t, Bailey made them pay the price.

Bailey is considered one of the best to ever play the position.

Wright was just as good, if not better.

“They use a term today of shutdown cornerback,” former Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Collier told the Denver Post. “We didn’t have that term back then, but Louie Wright was a shutdown cornerback. He was a great run defender. He played the left side and in those days most teams were right-handed and their running plays usually went to our left side.”

Wright played his entire 12-year career (1975-86) in a Broncos uniform. A first-round draft pick (17 overall) out of San Jose State, Wright played 166 games, starting all but one. Besides his 26 interceptions, he also had 11 fumble recoveries, one returned for a touchdown in the famous Snow Bowl on Oct. 15, 1984, at Mile High Stadium when the Broncos defeated Green Bay 17-14 in a blizzard.

Wright was a noted track star at SJSU. His then-San Jose State best of 25-feet-7 in the long jump still ranks in the top-five in school history. He also won two letters in track and once ran the 100 in 9.6 seconds.

He was one of the best tackling and run-stopping cornerbacks of his era. He was a hard-hitting defensive back who wasn’t afraid to muck it up. Sounds like Bailey, doesn’t it?

Wright’s reward was a place on the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 1993.

Since then, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back has been mostly forgotten.

Wright, along with Randy Gradishar, should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wright is one of the best cornerbacks to ever play in the NFL, and he did so for one of the greatest defenses in history, the Orange Crush. The fact he’s not in is a sham and shame.

The first shutdown cornerback in NFL history should have his place in Canton. Wright deserves to have that recognition and honor. He deserves to be acknowledged as one of the best at his position.

As for the fans, when they discuss and talk about Bailey, they cannot forgot the original.

Just as they don’t when John Elway and Peyton Manning are discussed at the quarterback position.

Hopefully this younger generation of fans who was treated to one of the best to ever play at cornerback doesn’t forget about a guy who was just as good and special.

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