ENGLEWOOD — Growing up a Broncos fan in Arvada, Dan Skipper had a poster of middle linebacker Al Wilson on his bedroom wall.
“And then all the way back with the Terrell Davis days, watching the Super Bowls with my dad," said Skipper, who is now an offensive tackle for his favorite hometown team. “I was pretty young."
He was 3 years old when the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII, 4 when they won Super Bowl XXXIII.
“I remember watching the game," he said. “I don’t remember the whole season or anything like that."
He grew up – and grew and grew – until he starred at Ralston Valley High School and the University of Arkansas – until he made it to the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.
And when he was waived a week into this season with the Lions, Skipper worked as an assistant baker for his wife Mackenzie’s parents at the Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop in Frisco, Texas. They have this I-40 pie that includes pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, smooth pecan pie filling and sweet shortbread crust … where were we?
Oh yes, Skipper was working at his in-laws’ pie shop when the Broncos called to offer him a spot on their practice squad. He had his first practice with them Wednesday.
“It’s awesome to be here, it’s awesome to have a new job in the league and being back home is special," he said.
He was a terrific, 6-foot-10, four-year starter at Arkansas, but then pre-draft medical tests discovered a blood condition that may have scared some teams away from using a draft pick on him. It shouldn’t have as he started 47 consecutive games over four seasons, the second-longest streak in Razorbacks’ history.
“Yeah, there’s a mild blood condition," he said. “I don’t know what happened with the draft. That’s other people’s deal. I just try to focus on the here and now and what happened, happened. It doesn’t matter now. I’ve got a chance to get in here and compete."
Say the Cincinnati Bengals could only pick one of their stars to play but not both.
Andy Dalton, their quarterback, or star receiver A.J. Green?
A case can be made they’d pick Green. The Bengals were 5-3 this year with both Dalton and Green. They were 0-3 with Dalton and no Green.
The Bengals are just 2-7 without Green in the last four seasons.
For their game Sunday against the Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, the Bengals will get Green back from his bum toe, but Dalton suffered a season-ending thumb injury last week and will be replaced by Jeff Driskel.
Advantage, Bengals. They are simply a different team with Green in their lineup.
“Absolutely they are," said Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph, who was the Bengals’ defensive backs coach in 2014-15, when they reached the playoffs both years. “He’s a great player. He’s no different than (Steelers receiver) Antonio Brown. You have to take him out of the game, and if not, he can beat you.
“I worked there for two years and I’ve watched this guy every day work. He is a special talent. He’s tall, he’s long, he has a great catch radius and he’s a worker. He wants to be a great player, so he’s going to show up Sunday with a chip on his shoulder and try to make plays on us."
Pro Bowl snubs
The fans aren’t showing the Broncos much love in the form of Pro Bowl votes. The league released its second week of top 10 vote getters at each position and again the only Broncos listed were Andy Janovich, who is 9th among fullbacks, and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who are third and fourth among outside linebackers.
Fans represent one-third of the total Pro Bowl voting process with players and coaches accounting for the other two-thirds.
Inside linebacker Brandon Marshall returned to practice for the first time in nearly a month. …
No. 3 cornerback Tramaine Brock was held out with sore ribs. The Broncos are getting rookie Isaac Yiadom to play that role Sunday against the Bengals.