Here were the choices for Denver Broncos fans who wanted to buy a jersey at a fifth-level souvenir shop at Invesco Field at Mile High last Saturday during a pre-season game against the Dallas Cowboys: Jay Cutler; Rod Smith; Javon Walker; John Lynch.
And here’s the problem. Three of those players aren’t even on the team anymore! Smith has retired. Walker became persona-non-gratis (and persona muy loco) when he signed with the Oakland Raiders several months ago. Lynch bailed on the Broncos for the New England Patriots. Only Cutler remains, and his jersey is overplayed anyway.
A cashier there and a customer pointed out that there have been a lot of griping over the subject, and why not? It’s an insult to try to sell us Walker jerseys.
A similar situation exists at other sporting goods stores around town, where you can also find Travis Henry, Mike Bell and Jake Plummer jerseys in copious quantities. None of these guys are on the team either. I ranted about this subject once before, but I have to rant again, because it is a sad state of affairs to any self-respecting Broncos fan.
This time, however, I also called Broncos spokesman Jim Saccomano, who insists that there are plenty of current Broncos jerseys on sale in the main store at Invesco.
“There’s an entire wall of active player jerseys, anywhere from thirteen to fifteen players,” he says. “And another entire wall with sale jerseys and ex-player jerseys.”
But he seemed to be aware that the team doesn’t exactly have a lot of players (aside from Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Champ Bailey) who are going to move product. No stars.
“Running back is not an absolute. Selvin Young is our starter right now, but it’s not an absolute,” he explains. “On the defensive side, you wait for guys to emerge. Someone will make the tackles. I don’t know if we have the answer beyond that yet.”
Someone. I don’t know that player.
Eddie Royal was the best he could do. “I think we’ll be selling a lot of #19 Eddie Royal jerseys,” Saccomano says. But Royal is a rookie. A five-foot-ten-inch star receiver and punt returner from Virginia Tech, he is supposed to be a nice guy with a lot of talent (and has already shown some flash). But he has yet to play a real game in the NFL.
It’s a big leap to take for $129. – Jonathan Shikes