ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Imagine this: a sixth-round pick for the Denver Broncos takes a handoff, makes a defender miss, crosses the goal line, stares directly into the South Stands at Mile High, raises his hand to his forehead and salutes the crowd.
Well, while it might not include the player you are envisioning now, that exact scenario may happen this season.
[caption id="attachment_91541" align="alignleft" width="470"] Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]
The 'Mile High Salute' made famous, of course, by Hall-of-Fame running back Terrell Davis and his group of running backs, known then as the "No Limit Soldiers," has become a longstanding tradition amongst Broncos fans. A uniting symbol unlike any other in Broncos history. You raise that hand to your head around someone in Orange & Blue; they instantly know what to do.
While it has never left the stands, the salute has been more absent in the end zone in recent years. The good news: that all could change very soon.
De'Angelo Henderson, a Denver Bronco by way of the sixth round of the NFL draft—just like Davis—has been saluting in the end zone for years.
"It was something that me and my friends back from high school started, and I carried it to college a little bit," he told BSN Denver.
That's right, Henderson began his own Sea Level Salute back in Summerville, South Carolina—about 5,200 feet short of a mile high—with no knowledge of TD's tradition.
As destiny would have it, Henderson's path would lead him from Coastal Carolina University to Denver, where the salute cuts the thin air just that much easier. In watching his highlights, fans quickly noticed the explosive running back doing the Broncos birthright.
"A couple people (mentioned) me on Twitter and told me about it, that's when I found out about it," he explained. "It's pretty cool that I already was doing it and [Davis] did it. The fans like it so I'm definitely going to please them."
"It's something big here, so it's something I plan to go forward with," he added. "If I score some touchdowns, I'm definitely going to give a Mile High Salute... First thing I'm going to do."
If his college career tells you anything, it's that he certainly has a nose for the end zone. "Hop," as he was known at Coastal Carolina, scored at least one touchdown in each of his final 35 games as a Chantecler.
"I consider myself a playmaker," Henderson said when asked if he considers himself a goal-line type. "In the moment I can find the hole, hit a crease and hit the end zone. I feel like I can hit it from anywhere on the field; whether it's on the one-yard line or the other 40, I feel like I can hit it wherever.
Sixth-round pick, Mile High Salute, number in the 30's—next stop, Hall of Fame?
"We're working towards it, but we'll see, we'll see how things play out," he said with a big laugh. "I think, for everybody, that's the end goal that everybody has in mind for themselves. Especially being young and having some years to get where they want to be. We'll see what happens."
Just be ready to salute back when you see 33 hit paydirt.