Posted Thu Jul 16th by Monty
Jake Plummer remains one of the classiest, and one of my favorite, Broncos of the post-Elway era. Retiring after being benched in the 2006 season, Plummer has been a recluse, avoiding public comment and “enjoying life” playing handball and coaching with his brother on a volunteer basis.
So when Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller somehow convinced the controversial quarterback to appear on their morning radio show on ESPN 1600 Thursday (I’m guessing they held his handballs hostage), I eagerly paid attention. Plummer didn’t disappoint, discussing retirement, playfully ripping on former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, and giving his take on the current state-of-affairs in Denver football, among other things.
“I haven’t looked back as far as any regrets of being done playing football.”
Asked if he could ever return to the game (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still own his rights), Jake said that, in many ways, he feels better physically than he did when he came to Denver. “I still am very competitive. If I had to, and if somebody put it in the right position, I still could play. But I don’t have the desire to go through all of that that goes into playing football.”
Quick to clarify, Jake made sure no one misunderstood him. “I’m not saying I would, I’m saying I could. (Laughing) No, no, don’t misconstrue that. I can see the headlines: ‘He will play if it’s right.’ Oh boy.”
Count me among the fans that would love to see The Snake make one more 4th quarter comeback.
It’s obvious, though, that Plummer has become disillusioned with the state of affairs in the NFL. As a fan, he says he can enjoy it, but as a player it was too much. “Nothing amazes you or surprises you too much in the NFL. I’ve seen great football players, including myself, kind of cast aside because some coach feels that’s the way to go. Then you see Coach Mike Shanahan get pushed out. It’s always fun to see that stuff happen. It’s always different.
The NFL is always moving and shaking trying to find the next winner, the next guy who’s going to do it. That’s kind of how the NFL has gone. It’s soured quite a few veterans that I’ve talked to, because it seems like it’s a youth movement in a way. You can pay a younger guy less to do almost the same job a vet does.”
Plummer went on to talk about the 2009 Broncos. “I think they got a good coach in there right now. I’m excited to see how they do. I like that quarterback they got, Orton. I think he’s a tough kid that’s gonna, kind of like myself, just lead, he’s not going to dazzle you in any way, but he’s going to lead and through all his grit and determination he’ll pull out a few more wins than maybe someone else might.”
Naturally, the conversation turned back to Shanny and the less-than-amicable split between the coach and quarterback. Plummer sounded in good spirits about it, joking about the mega-mansion Shanahan has been building in Denver, “Well he was what, only 5’4”? So he wants people to think he’s 5’6”, something like that?”
Plummer continued, “If I saw the man, I’d go shake his hand. He gave me a chance to put a stamp on my career of a winner and get some good wins in there. I have to live with myself. He’s gotta live with himself down the road. So I don’t have hard feelings and I don’t hold grudges. He got his due there, I think it was a year past due. He should have been gone a year before and I’ve already said all that stuff. But he’ll find himself somewhere coaching again and cutting some other good quarterback for another young kid. Who knows?”
Plummer’s always good for a soundbite or two. If only every athlete could call it a career with such grace and style (ahem Brett Favre ahem). Best of luck to you, Jake, you’ll always be one of my favorites. The full interview is below and starts around the 1:00:00 mark.