ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– There were 21 undrafted rookie free agents at Denver Broncos camp over the weekend, including Grandview High School graduate Eddie Yarbrough.
The standout defensive end at Wyoming tried to earn a spot at outside linebacker and a chance to live out his dream of playing for the Broncos.
“I remember Elway, it was such a big deal when he was retiring, everybody took a pause, like a moment of silence for Elway,” said Yarbrough.
So what was it like when he met his new boss?
“To describe it would be like describing an out-of-body experience, like this is John… he could run for mayor, he could run for governor and it would be a landslide victory for John Elway,” said Yarbrough. “To be in his presence, to introduce myself, ‘Hey how you doing Mr. Elway?’ ‘Hey, how you doing, Eddie?'”
The answer to that question, ‘How you doing Eddie?’ is always great and the big smile never seems to leave his face.
Just ask his Grandview High School coach.
“We used to call him a big puppy dog, because he was happy all the time, ready to get to work and also ready to follow and lead,” said Grandview Football Head Coach John Schultz. “Very excitable and magnetic leader.”
“You know I had a lot of nicknames in high school, at Grandview, and one of them was big puppy, and it was because I would be out there, outside of football I’d be hugging on coaches, picking them up like a big puppy dog, just playful, playful,” said Yarbrough.
Yarbrough took that same energy and enthusiasm to the field where, as a senior, he helped lead Grandview to the state semi-finals.
“Usually the coaches have to do a lot of the ‘Rah-rah’ work, with Eddie it was never like that. It was his team, it was his voice, it was his pregame, it was his leadership, it made coaching easy,” said Schultz.
Despite going to high school a few miles from Broncos Headquarters in Englewood, Yarbrough’s journey to the Broncos hasn’t been easy. He had interest from PAC-12 schools but offers fell through and he ended up at Wyoming.
Yarbrough was a three time all conference selection and broke the school record for tackles for loss but injuries his senior season hurt his draft stock.
“Not getting drafted, it was unfortunate but at the same time, everything happens for a reason. If anything it puts more emphasis on my craft and my work ethic because I come with the attitude, ‘Hey, you know, it’s not like I’m that third-round pick or first-round pick,’ I’m going to come in here with the mentality and work ethic of somebody… I’m going to play,” Yarbrough.
Yarbrough can see the silver lining in being a college free agent, turning down offers from other teams to make the short drive to come play for the Broncos.
“Once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m really just truly blessed and fortunate, excited to be in my hometown, my home state, and really playing for the Denver Broncos. I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” said Yarbrough.