ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Brandon McManus is thankful but doubts he deserves his AFC special teams player of the week award for scoring all of his five extra points and a 52-yard field goal in the Detroit Lions’ outburst by the Denver Broncos .
“I think sometimes it’s a skewed price,” McManus said on Wednesday after winning the award for the… third time in his eight-year career. “I don’t know if it’s in the rules that you have to win the game, but what I’ve noticed over the past eight years is that you do.
“Of course I appreciate the award and I was able to honor Demaryius by wearing my cleats,” added McManus, who arrived at the stadium on Sunday wearing the number 88 jersey of his friend and former teammate Demaryius Thomas, whose death shocked last week at age 33. the NFL world.
When McManus entered the stadium, he also had some draped around his neck custom cleats which depicted DT’s famous mile-wide smile which he wore during the Broncos’ 38-10 win.
“So in that sense it’s special to me,” McManus said. “But I think they could look at ways to potentially change that price because I’m sure there was a guy who kicked further or (had) more kicks than me.”
Two of them are in the AFC West with McManus.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked six extra points and scored field goals from 54 and 37 yards for a dozen points in Kansas City’s 48-9 Raiders blowout. And Dustin Hopkins was good for 13 points in the Chargers’ 37-21 win over the Giants with four extra points and field goals from 27, 38 and 39 yards.
Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 61-yard field goal in the Texans’ 33-13 loss to Seattle and Justin Tucker’s three field goals, including one from 50 yards and another from 55 yards in Baltimore’s 24-22 loss to Cleveland.
McManus, who also won the award twice last year, didn’t need a waiver from the NFL’s fashion police to wear his custom cleats in Thomas’s honor. League rules prohibit players in all other positions from wearing custom cleats outside of the two weekends when the NFL allows players to spotlight their charitable causes.
“There’s also a nice clause in the rulebooks and kickers can wear whatever they want, kickers and punters,” explained McManus. “So we can really wear any color. We don’t have color schemes or anything like that.”
The Broncos (7-6) are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl 50.
The trade of McManus’ best friend, star linebacker Von Miller, to the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1 made McManus the last remaining member of that championship team.
McManus understands it’s just business – good business, in all likelihood, as general manager George Paton was able to secure two second day draft picks for Miller, the franchise’s career leader in sacks and jokes.
“Of course I miss my friend here. But I lost my teammate; I have not lost my friend. And so I’m still talking to him,” McManus said.
McManus is one of 10 Broncos who played with Thomas, whose family believes he died Thursday of an assault at his home in Roswell, Georgia.
“It’s so tragic. In my video, when I hear his voice and remember all the conversations we had together, even at Peyton’s anchoring, I get a chance to talk to him,” McManus said. “And I saw how wonderful he was with other people’s children and he hadn’t had a chance to meet mine yet. So that was the hardest part.”
The Broncos paid tribute to Thomas last weekend with his No. 88 jersey draped on their couch, stenciled in their sidelines and stickered on their helmets.
They have another big game at home on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also 7-6 and stalled in the AFC playoff race.
McManus wants to help lead the Broncos back to the playoffs after this long drought in which they have only won one season in the past five.
“Oh, it sure would mean a lot,” he said. “I’m tired of being in Cancun quite early.”
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