Broncos Patriots Football Simmons

Broncos safety Justin Simmons returns an interception during the second half against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

Safety Justin Simmons was selected as the Broncos' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, an award which recognizes a player for his outstanding leadership both on the field and in the community.

This is the second straight year Simmons has been nominated by the Broncos, joining Wesley Woodyard, Champ Bailey and Rod Smith as the only Broncos to be selected twice in their careers. 

“It means everything," said Simmons, who has been recognized for his support of the Boys and Girls Club of Denver, as well as using his platform to discuss social justice issues in the community.

"I know I talked in depth about it last year, but this award is the most prestigious award in my opinion in the NFL. All-pro, Pro Bowls, all the things that come with what you're chasing after as an NFL player — this award means the most to me personally. To be recognized, like I said, you don't do it for the accolades or anything like that — but to be recognized as a nomination of someone at the stature of Walter Payton, it just goes above and beyond, and I'm just truly humbled once again by the nomination."

Simmons and the 31 other player nominees will be up for the league-wide Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which will be given out during Super Bowl weekend on Feb. 7. 

     

Darian Stewart retires

A member of the Broncos' "No Fly Zone" and starting safety on the Super Bowl 50 team in 2015, Darian Stewart announced his retirement from football Thursday. 

Stewart spent four years in Denver (2015-2018), totaling 254 tackles, 24 pass deflections and nine interceptions. He was also selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl. 

He spoke to the Denver media Thursday via Zoom and was joined by former Broncos teammates Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby and TJ Ward — each of whom were members of the "No Fly Zone" in Denver — who congratulated Stewart on retiring. 

"It was everything," Stewart said of being a part of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 team. "When I had an opportunity to be a part of it, I didn't flinch. That was one of the best decisions I could have made." 

Stewart says he hopes to focus on his foundation — Stewart Standouts — during his retirement.

McCaffrey not expected to play Sunday

Panthers star running back and Colorado native Christian McCaffrey is not expected to play Sunday against the Broncos, Carolina coach Matt Rhule announced Thursday after McCaffrey missed Thursday's practice. 

McCaffrey said in an interview with the media Monday that he felt "great" but didn't say if he would play or not.

“I’m going to monitor it," Rhule said. "At this time, I do not expect him to play, but I’ll continue to monitor it."

McCraffrey, of course, is the son of former Bronco standout wide receiver and Northern Colorado head coach Ed McCaffrey. McCaffrey was a standout at Valor High School in Highlands Ranch and was looking forward to playing against his dad's former team. 

"That was kind of when I started to see what football meant to me, just watching him and being able to run around on the field after the game and seeing them win two Super Bowls, even when I was 2 or 3 years old," McCaffrey said Monday. “I know my dad loved football, and watching highlights of him is very special to me and the rest of our family, just seeing how he played."

It looks like McCaffrey will have to wait a little longer before playing his hometown team. 

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