Texas Tech has big presence in Broncos offense

01/28/2014 9:54 PM

01/28/2014 9:55 PM

When the Broncos’ offensive players introduce themselves Sunday, three of the 11 proudly will give shoutouts to Texas Tech.

Louis Vasquez, Manny Ramirez and Wes Welker are proud Red Raiders turned Broncos.

“I didn’t realize it at first,” Vasquez said Tuesday. “But it’s been awesome to be a part of this, to say I was a part of the three Red Raiders. It’s an awesome feeling.”

All three contributed heavily to the Broncos’ success: Welker, a receiver, scored a career-high 10 touchdowns in his first season in Denver; Vasquez, a guard in his first season in Denver, earned all-pro honors for the first time after allowing no sacks; Ramirez, a guard until the Broncos lost two centers, earned honorable mention Pro Bowl honors in his first season at a new position.

“I think a lot of that comes from the fact that they watched me at Texas Tech while they were there and really just kind of studied how to play the game,” Welker said, laughing, when asked about the success of Ramirez and Vasquez. “But definitely being Red Raiders, those guys have done a great job all year.

“Manny really stepping up for us and having a heck of a year, and Louis having a Pro Bowl year, and once he gets his hands on those guys, they’re pretty much done.”

Welker played at Tech from 2000-03, Ramirez from 2002-06, including a redshirt season, and Vasquez from 2005-08.

Harvin returns

Percy Harvin is confident he will contribute to the Seahawks’ cause Sunday, even though he has missed most of the season.

“I’ve had good practices, and I have full confidence in my game,” Harvin said Tuesday. “Once I am out there on that field, I only know one speed, and that’s full force.”

Harvin signed a six-year, $67 million deal with the Seahawks during the off-season, but hip surgery on Aug. 1 limited him to 19 plays during the regular season. He made one catch for 17 yards and returned a kickoff 58 yards against his former team, the Vikings. He played 19 plays against New Orleans in the divisional playoff round but suffered a concussion after three catches for 21 yards and missed the NFC Championship Game.

“I’m glad to be part of this team and gearing up to play a game,” Harvin said. “I’m not really worrying about the past games that I missed and the time I missed. I’m here now, I’m healthy, and I’m ready to go.”

Thomas’ relatives cheer from prison

Demaryius Thomas’ biggest fans will root him Sunday from the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, Fla.

His mother, Katina Smith, and his grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, have been imprisoned since Demaryius was 11. The women were convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Minnie Pearl Thomas, with two prior convictions, is serving a life sentence. Smith, 41, is eligible for parole in 2017.

Demaryius talks to both after every game.

“One day you can be here, and the next day you’ll be gone,” he said. “So I take every day like it’s my last. I play every football game like it’s my last.

“I was brought up a Christian. I was raised around great people. They drive me more to know that they’re there, and they’re watching me. I try to go out there and play my best, because they’re going to talk about it to the people in the jailhouse.”

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