TE Greg Dulcich and CB Damarri Mathis choose the numbers associated with Bronco’s past

Englewood, Colorado – When a pair of rookies settle down in Denver, they will share a connection with the team’s past.

When Greg Dolch and linebacker Damary Mattis recently picked out their jersey numbers, they chose the ones that have lasting meaning in Denver.

Dulcich, the Broncos’ third-round pick, chose the number 80 in part because it’s the same number that Ring of Famer Rod Smith wore during his Denver career. Smith wore the number while building a stellar career in which he broke nearly every record in franchise history. After more than 15 years in his career, Smith continues to lead the records for yard receptions, receptions and touchdown receptions.

And for Dulcich, who has been touring UCLA, Smith’s track provides inspiration.

“[He’s] Dulcich said on Friday: “The guy who did it as a freelancer reminds me of how I used to be a parker. You have to carry yourself with a mentality…whatever you have to do.”

Dulcich will learn more about Smith as his career develops, but he already has a sense of Smith’s place in the history of the Broncos.

“He’s one of the greats,” said Dulcich, “and it’s really an honor to wear the same number he does.”

Meanwhile, Matisse’s choice was unintentional. When he picked 27th, he was unaware of his Denver legacy. Since picking the number, though, he’s become familiar with its history – shared by Hall of Famer Steve Atwater and the late Darrent Williams.

Mattis changed the expectations that could come with wearing the number, saying he allowed the media to deal with the comparisons.

“I’m just controlling what I can control to the best of my ability, and getting in, like I said, at the end of being a player in the team and being able to participate and wanting to win,” Mattis said.

Of course, the rookie junior camp of the Broncos is more than just new jersey numbers.

The draft class in Denver, and a group of free agents and demo players, took the field for the first time, and coach Nathaniel Hackett said he offered the 80-minute training as a learning session, of sorts.

“These guys were training for Combine,” Hackett said Friday. “They lived in a circle. They were so excited to enlist, they were partying. Some of them might be, so I don’t want to speak for everyone, but not necessarily [be] Ready for NFL practice. I think for us it’s the learning – learning the system, learning the building, learning their teammates, learning their coaches – and then how to go pro and get out here and train every day. I think it’s just all of those things and techniques. We don’t want to throw them in there and start making a team right away. We want to make sure that they understand the techniques of every road and all those little details when they get to know this stuff. We will keep pushing these guys and hopefully they get off to a good start [integrated] With the guys next week.”

The Broncos will return to the field for another junior training session on Saturday.

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