ENGLEWOOD – Peyton Manning’s all yours.
Eric Decker? Have at him, ladies. Champ Bailey's the best defensive player I've seen play for the Broncos. Let him take a limo to the Hall of Fame.
No one seems to want my guy. He's Trindon Holliday and he's too small to be doing what he’s doing. LSU football initially didn’t want him. The Houston Texans didn’t want him. After he fumbled against the Chargers, the Broncos weren’t sure if they wanted him.
My guy doesn’t get the hint.
The past two Sundays, Holliday has a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. He has an AFC special teams player of the week award. He has San Diego, which plays at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, worried.
“There’s something about Trindon,” LSU track coach Dennis Shaver said, “That makes you root for him. Everybody that knows him would say the same thing.”
Maybe it’s his speed. Holliday’s so fast he ran away from the 2007 Track and Field World Championships. In the qualifier, only one American – Tyson Gay – ran a faster time in the 100 meters than Holliday’s 10.07 seconds. The worlds interfered with football practice. He didn't go.
"I think of myself as a football player that ran track,” said Holliday, who won the 100 meters in the 2009 NCAA outdoor championships.
"If he would've trained like (his track peers), he would’ve been one of the 9.90 (second) guys,” Shaver said.
For the track-uneducated like me, here’s a reference point. In the London Olympics, the three Americans in the 100-meter final ran 9.79 (Justin Gatlin), 9.80 (Tyson Gay) and 9.88 (Ryan Bailey). Usain Bolt, strike a pose: 9.63.
"He (Holliday) had Olympic speed," Shaver said.
Shaver coached Holliday in track at LSU. That’s where Holliday, who grew up in nearby Zachary, La., wanted to play football. The Tigers didn’t recruit him; he recruited them.
“We were all over him for track,” Shaver said. “But his heart was in football.”
Maybe it’s his size. He’s listed at 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds (six more than the lightest Bronco ever, former cornerback Chris Hale), and I think the Broncos are being honest.
Holliday's size makes his one of the most fascinating stories of this season. This is an underdog story. This is the shortest player in Broncos history – by two inches – chasing long odds into the team’s record book. This is a player plucked off waivers who became the third Bronco to score on a punt return and a kickoff return in the same season.
“This is a guy that’s not supposed to be out there,” Shaver said. “But nobody’s told him that, or he doesn’t listen.”
“It’s motivation every day when I hear people say that, the naysayers out there,” Holliday said. “What I always say is it’s not the size of the person, it’s the size of the heart.”
The Texans cut Holliday on Oct. 10. The Broncos claimed him the next day.
"It was a great acquisition," Chargers coach Norv Turner said.
But this is not the shortest player in NFL history. Jack Shapiro played one game for the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929. "Soupy" stood 5-foot and 1/2 inch.
These days Soupy would be 1 foot short of the average height for an NFL player (6-1). That’s two feet shorter than the tallest player in NFL history. Richard Sligh, a lineman, was 7-foot. Al Davis, of course, drafted Sligh for the Raiders in 1967.
Holliday disagrees, but size matters. Eighty-seven percent of the players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are north of 6 foot. That includes the tallest inductee, Bob St. Clair.
The Niner was 6-foot-9. It’s how he blocked 10 field goals in 1956.
“I don’t let my size bother me,” Holliday said.
Holliday’s shoes are size 9.5. Sligh, the NFL’s tallest player, wore 16 EEEs.
I like Holliday for many reasons. One, I’m not looking up. Two, his swag is size 16 EEE.
“A couple of little guys at home have told me, ‘We like what you’re doing. Keep doing it. We look up to you. Keep grinding,'" he said.
At the end of his punt return at Carolina, Holliday flipped the ball away before he crossed the goal line. The NFL later said the play should have been ruled a fumble and a touchback.
The refs missed it. The touchdown counted.
My guy doesn’t play by the rules that say he can’t do what he’s doing.