DENVER (CBS4) – Some football players do the dirty work down in the trenches, while others take in the glory of scoring touchdowns. On Sunday against Tampa Bay, Broncos defensive tackle Mitch Unrein got to do both.

During the game Unrein had to come of the field after his eye got gouged.

“There’s a lot of eye gouging and I got the brunt of it,” the Colorado native said on Xfinity Monday Live!

Not only did he get his eye gouged, he also got the penalty.

“I got the penalty. His hand came into my facemask and got me in both eyes and I couldn’t see anything. So that’s when I just put my hand out and I got him in the facemask and they called it on me,” Unrein said. “It’s what the ref sees. He didn’t see the first action, he saw my reaction from what he did to me.”

Unrein said the offensive linemen don’t purposely eye gouge.

“My slit on my facemask is very narrow. I think it was just a reaction of me slanting the opposite direction of where the play was going and he just stuck his hand out,” he said. “It was just a freak accident.”

Unrein was instrumental in the win. The second year lineman out of Wyoming opened up the scoring with a one-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning. He also had a big hit on Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman that forced a Von Miller interception that was taken to the end zone.

It was Unrein’s first touchdown of his NFL career and the Broncos’ first touchdown for a defensive tackle in franchise history.

“(The play) is called the Cowboy Package, and that’s because I went to the University of Wyoming. It was called in the huddle and I knew that I was going to be the first read that he had in his progression,” he said. “So I knew if that guy wasn’t going to cover me at the line of scrimmage I was going to be wide open.”

Unrein said he’s not sure why the coaches picked him for the play but was glad they did. Unfortunately, he didn’t plan ahead for his touchdown dance.

“I wish would have. It was kind of spur of the moment … the only thing I was thinking about was catching the ball, and after I caught the ball, I was like, ‘I cannot believe I just scored an NFL touchdown.’ The next thing I knew I was spiking the ball and I was looking for where it went.”

Unrein grew up in Eaton in Northern Colorado and says he’s always been a Broncos fan.

“They used to have camp up in Greeley, and growing up we used to watch John Elway and everybody play at the University of Northern Colorado campus,” he said.


Mitch Unrein (photos credit: Mitch Unrein)

The Broncos have a short week. They travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders on Thursday night football. Kickoff is at 6:20 p.m.

– By Matthew J. Buettner,

Watch more of the video with Mitch Enrein in the Xfinity Monday Live! section.


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