There has been a lot of conversation about mentors on the 2019 Broncos roster. There are questions about how important it is to have veteran players willing to show the ropes to rookies and other young players. There is also conversation revolving around who actually should be a mentor and which positions would benefit the most from such a person.
On Tuesday at UC Health Training Center, Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman provided some insight on his thoughts about being a mentor.
While Heuerman would be at the top of the depth chart if it were to be released today, 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant is seen as the future at the tight end position. In fact, nobody would be surprised if Fant was the leading receiver at the position in his debut season.
During his post-practice press conference, I was able to toss a couple of questions at Heuerman about Fant. After getting nowhere when Heuerman answered someone else’s question about what he thought when Fant was drafted, I decided to broach the subject in a different way.
I brought up how quarterback Joe Flacco admitted on Monday that it’s not really his responsibility to be a mentor for rookie Drew Lock. I then directly asked Heuerman if he would be a mentor to Fant.
“Like I said, I’m going to come in here every day and do whatever I’ve got to do to make this football team as good as we can be to go win games. Noah just got here, so I’m going to teach him everything I can teach him. Anything to help this football team, whether it’s teaching him, running, blocking or doing whatever,” Heuerman said.
Heuerman was a third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft. He missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury suffered on the first day of rookie minicamp that year. During that time, Heuerman had to observe from the sidelines as the Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl.
He also had some good veterans who were mentors to him. I had to ask Heuerman who those players were and what it meant to him to have that kind of guidance.
“I was fortunate to have a few guys ahead of me to just kind of learn how to be an NFL player on and off the field and how to handle yourself. Owen Daniels my rookie year; I kind of leaned on him and learned a lot from him, just being on IR (injured reserve) and talking to him. Virgil (Green), I was obviously with him longer, so I learned a lot from him on and off the field,” Heuerman said.
Heuerman is now going to take what he’s learned and pass it on to Fant.
At the end of the day, I think the whole “mentor” thing is overblown. A guy like Flacco has enough to worry about without taking Lock under his wing.
That being said, it is a positive when a guy wants to give out pointers and tips. I have criticized Heuerman plenty of times during his Broncos career, but in this aspect I have to praise his mindset.
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