In his former home of Oakland, new Denver Broncos offensive lineman Menelik Watson was known as “Lennox.”
Yes, the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder drew comparisons to his fellow Brit, boxer Lennox Lewis, but in his eyes it was less about his thick accent and gold tooth and more about something else.
“When you throw your hands a lot, they want to compare you to somebody,” the newest Broncos said with a laugh as he was introduced on Friday. “I think I was a bit more fluid than Lennox, though. I think I have a bit more of a jab on me.”
The offensive tackle who has spent most of his career on the right side is no stranger to throwing hands, explaining Friday that he didn’t have it easy as a kid, debunking any thoughts of a Brit being soft.
“Don’t get it confused. I come from a tough background,” he explained. “It’s nothing new to get physical, that’s what I like to do, that’s why I’m an offensive lineman. It’s just part of the game; it’s a physical game… You have to be the aggressor, and that’s what I like to be.”
It’s a mentality that appears to be a part of a culture shift on the offensive line for the Broncos. Everybody remembers John Elway’s famous “kicking and screaming” quote following a playoff loss to the Colts in 2014, and the immediate changes that followed. This season, it appears Elway is on a similar mission on his offensive line, he wants some nastiness up front.
“We’re thrilled that Menelik has decided to come to Denver from Oakland,” the Broncos general manager and vice president of football operations said Friday. “As you can tell, he’s a very big and physical player that again is going to bring mentality. We’re really excited about him, we had our eyes on Menelik when we played him this year, earlier in the year, and so we’re just thrilled that he’s decided to join us.”
Watson is still new to the game of football, only having played for the first time during his junior year of college, but the game is his passion, he lives to play, and he lives to block, exactly the way John Elway wants it.
“I was dealt some pretty tight cards as a kid, but you make the most of it, and you attack life aggressively,” said the lineman. “Without football, I’m a miserable person, and that’s just the bottom line.”
Denver has yet to make a big splash since free agency opened on Thursday but they have addressed their number one need, and they have upgraded at the position. Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson may not be the big names many fans were hoping for, but they certainly seem to fit a new mold for Denver up front.