You have only to look at my PEYTON MANNING IS A GOD THAT WALKS ON EARTH posts to know where my NFL loyalties lie, but on Sundays when it’s time to suit up, the royal blue jersey I’m rocking isn’t his. Or Marvin Harrison’s. Or Reggie Wayne’s, or Vinatiereireiri’s. It’s number 83, and the guy who used to wear it is a quiet, unassuming slot receiver named Brandon Stokley.
You might remember him from 2004, when he, Harrison, and Wayne each finished the season with over a thousand yards receiving and at least 10 TDs apiece.
But probably not. He’s not a grandstander. Not a touchdown dancer. Not flashy. Just great hands, fast legs, and an otherworldly ability to find an open patch of end zone.
What he’s also got is a tendency to get hurt. I lost my fantasy football league championship last year (to a fifteen year old boy, no less) because I refused to jettison Stokley even when he was on the IR for months with a ruptured Achilles. Indianapolis was not so fervent in their devotion. They cut him in the offseason, and it just about broke my heart. He was signed to the Broncos in days, and seems to be working out, to say the least. I stood and cheered when he caught his first TD pass from Jay Cutler. I’ll be following the fortunes of Denver with new interest this season. But Brandon Stokley will always be my boy in blue.