DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Broncos left guard Ben Garland’s commitment to the U.S. military is officially over, but he’s not about to give up doing something he loves. The former Air Force Academy Falcon remains committed to his country as long as his NFL schedule will permit it.
“I’m currently serving in the Air National Guard at Buckley Air Force Base,” Garland said on Xfinity Monday Live. “I absolutely love it, so I’m going to continue to serve as long as I can, as long as it works out with both of my schedules.
“I love it. I mean you’re talking about being able to wear that U.S. Air Force over your heart on your chest and being able to serve your country. And even though it’s a smaller capacity, I absolutely love it, and that’s why I went to the Academy and that’s why I took on that commitment.”
Peyton Manning loves it as well. He was asked about Ben Garland making the switch from the defensive line to the offensive line.
“He’s improved and he’s competing for a job right now and he has made significant improvements in the time that he has been here,” Manning said. “He’s going to fight and scratch and claw. Those are the guys you like in there with you trying to protect you and trying to help you.”
Garland had some good things to say about his 39-year-old quarterback’s motivation.
“Absolutely extremely motivated. You can tell, you can see his hunger. He’s in great shape and he understands the game well and he’s one of those guys that he knows the game well,” Garland said. “He is constantly studying and watching film and trying to get better so he can be the best.”
The Broncos have a handful of running backs competing for the starting job — C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Juwan Thompson, Jeremy Stewart and Kapri Bibbs. But Garland said for the Broncos, run blocking is the same no matter who lines up behind Manning.
“We’ve got some great guys back there and they’re going to run the ball hard. Mostly we’ve got to get our job done so that they can,” he said. “If we can open up a hole for them and they can hit it, hit it hard and fast whenever we open it up, that’s exactly what we need.”
CBS4’s Vic Lombardi wanted to know who Garland thought was the greatest Air Force Falcon to play in the NFL. He said it was former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Chad Hennings.
“Not only was he was he a d-lineman from Air Force, but he’s a true Academy guy. He had such passion, he fought for our country, he’s a fighter pilot, and he goes out of his way. It’s that Falcon brotherhood. I remember when I was trying to get into the NFL I got a personal phone call from him.”
Garland said Hennings was easily forthcoming with tips and recommendations.
“For a guy like that who’s a Super Bowl champion to call some random high school kid who he never met, that means a lot and that’s the kind of personality and character that he is.”
– By Matthew J. Buettner, CBSDenver.com