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Published on 01/06/2009 at Tue Jan 06 23:01.
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As news surfaced that former Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe would be one of the 15 finalists for the Hall of Fame — news of another potential Hall of Famer came to light. Broncos center Tom Nalen is likely to retire quietly by week’s end.

Fresh off the only head coach he has ever known in the NFL being fired; Nalen is expected to retire as he played, silently. A former practice squad turned pioneer in the zone blocking scheme, Nalen will forever be remembered in Denver as the anchor to the team that pledged omertà to the media.

Although Nalen is not necessarily a first ballot Hall of Famer, he will most likely join several of his Super Bowl teammates bronzed in Canton, OH. It is not known at this point what caused the former Broncos center to decide that this was the best time to announce his retirement. Nalen participated in part of training camp prior to the Broncos 2008 season and was expected to play in the first game before being relegated to the injured reserve. He last played in 2007 before being placed on the injured reserve, all to never return.

Nation, place your favorite Tom Nalen memories in the comments section, along with your thoughts: at 37 should he have given Casey Wiegmann one more go at training camp? Is there a place for him on the staff? How will Nalen be remembered historically?

  • Danh

    The end of the 2008 season just keeps getting more sad and depressing per day. When will the bleeding stop?!

    Favorite moment? Opening up a hole for Terrell Davis to score 2 touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys back in 1998 en route to Super Bowl 33.

  • Roy

    Nalen was one of the finest centers to play the game. He should have retired at the end of last season, but that is how it goes sometimes. He is probably retiring now because he does not want to be let go by a new headcoach / GM. A fine career, capped by leaving on HIS terms. He will surely be missed.

  • Truman

    Nalen was an absolute beast. No drama, no glory. Just domination, play after play. Happy trails Nails.

  • kerry

    the best Nails moment is the whole SB 32 game. he took on the massive Gilbert Brown and man handled him all day long. completely eliminating Brown from the game. the whole O-line manhandled Green Bays huge D-line. but Nalen was tasked with the toughest job of stopping Gilbert Brown. which he did repeatedly on every play.

    one line i will always remember the broadcasters saying during that game is as follow:

    “The Denver Offensive line is the smallest in the NFL, but they are lean and mean”

    that line was anchored by Tommy Nalen.

  • Danish Denver-fan!

    I was about to write that, Kerry…

    Sadly he will be remembered mostly for cheap-shooting. I don’t think it’s true, but that’s how other fans see him…

  • kerry

    the blocking style wasnt illegal at all. everybody whined about the blocking style because it was so effective and they couldnt get around it. those other fans can say Nalen was a cheap shot artist all they want. but the blocking style was legal. and those other fans would be praising their team had they thought of that blocking style first.

  • Danish Denver-fan!

    Yes, Kerry, but it’s still how he’ll be remembered. Unjust as it is.

  • dbroncos

    Tom Nalen for HOF.

  • air jordan 5

    Knowledge gives weight, gives glory to achievement, most people only see the glory, not to weigh the weight!