By Rich Kurtzman
Trindon Holliday, WR # 11
Weight: 170 pounds
Hometown: Zachary, Louisiana
College: Louisiana State University
Experience: 3 years
They say big things come in small packages.
Trindon Holliday is a prime example of just that. Holliday is a small man of humble upbringings that is just now making an impact in the NFL.
The Zachary, Louisiana native wasn’t allowed to play football until the seventh grade due to his short stature, and he didn’t see game action until his junior season in high school. But once he became a senior at Northeast High School, Holliday couldn’t be stopped—he ran for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in that one season alone.
And really, that should have been the end of his football career, but it was far from it. Holliday was incredibly lucky to land at Louisiana State University, making the trip to the school with his high school teammate—who they really wanted to see—but Holliday stood out so much because of his blazing speed.
He was recruited by LSU and quickly became a star on both the track and football field. In track, he set school records for the 100m dash and came in second to world class sprinter Tyson Gay in the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. And while he could have possibly enjoyed a successful career in track, he decided to focus on football. As a running back in college, Holliday was OK, but as a kickoff and punt returner, he was lightning. He averaged a great 24.7 yards per return in his career, taking two punts and kicks each into the end zone for the Tigers.
Entering the 2010 NFL Combine, the track star and speedster hoped to set a new record for 40-yard dash time, and even though his 4.34 mark was amazing, it was still .1 second slower than Chris Johnson’s record of 4.24.
Holliday was eventually selected by the Houston Texans in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but after fracturing his thumb, was placed on the Injured Reserve that season. And after being put on the Texans’ practice squad in 2011, he was waived mid-season. Luckily, he was re-signed by Houston and set an NFL record for returning three kicks (one kickoff and two punts) for touchdowns in three preseason games earlier this year. He found his way to the team’s 53-man roster, but was cut in October when they needed to add depth to the defense.
One day later, Holliday was signed by the Denver Broncos and went through yet another rough start. In his first game against the division rival Chargers, Holliday muffed a punt that gave San Diego the ball on Denver’s 16 yard line, setting up an easy score and putting his team in a hole early. The Broncos ended up making a historical 24-point comeback that game, likely much to the third-year returner’s delight. Overall, he had been underwhelming as a return man, averaging only 7.1 yards per on eight punts. That was until Sunday.
The Broncos came out of halftime leading 10-3, and Holliday’s magical play would widen that lead quickly. He caught the kickoff five yards deep in the Denver endzone, ran the ball up the middle of the field where a large alley was made by his blockers, bounced the ball outside a little to make a would-be tackler miss and trotted into the endzone. The 105-yard kickoff return touchdown was the longest play in Broncos’ franchise history, ironically made by the team’s shortest ever player. That play increased Denver’s lead to 17-3, and it turned out to be a key score, as the team won 31-23.
Trindon Holliday is a man that’s had to work for everything he’s got over the years, consistently overcoming adversity to make it into, and excell, in the NFL. The Broncos’ return game has been a glaring weakness for years, and Denver fans, coaches and front office men hope he continues to utilize that speed to return the rock with a fury.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.