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June 4, 2024 41 mins
Despite the fact he was a very accomplished swimmer in high school, Sean Moran’s dream was to play professional football. Which he did.  

Sean graduated from Overland High School in Aurora and headed north to play for a coach he thought was perfect for his college career at Colorado State University: Earl Bruce. Unfortunately, Coach Bruce was fired after Sean’s first year and he considered transferring. He was asked to be on and advisory board to hire the new football coach and after hearing Sonny Lubick’s interview, he said he’d stay if Sonny got the job.  

Sean thrived under Coach Lubick and left with numerous accolades great moments including running a fumble recovery 72 yards for a touchdown against #6 Arizona in 1994 – a game no one expected the Rams to be a contender, let alone win. In 2004, Sean became a member of the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame.  

He was drafted in the 4th round by the Buffalo Bills in 1996 and spent the next 8 years between the Bills, St. Louis Rams and 49ers. He played for some great coaches (Wade Phillips, Mike Martz and Dennis Erikson) as well with a number of future Hall of Famers.   

After football, Sean became a fire fighter and paramedic which he continues to do today along with being a husband and father to three children.
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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
(00:00):
Handled my heart singing the national anthem. And that's kind of the part right
before the game starts, where youremotions start reving up and you start getting
ready to get amped up, readyto play. And I looked at my
left and there's a former president,George Bush, the older George Bush.
And I looked at my right andthere's Bill Clinton. I'm standing right next
to these two president former presidents.I'm standing there going, what the heck?

(00:23):
Nice to meet you, sir,Nice to meet you, sir.
And then I ran in and randown on kickoff coverage, Welcome to cut,
Traded, Fired, Retired, andconversation number ninety. Wow, that's
a lot of conversations. Of course, that number doesn't matter chronologically because you
can listen to episodes in any orderyou'd like. This podcast continues to amaze

(00:43):
me as I reconnect with longtime acquaintancesand listen to them relate their stories about
being cut, traded, fired,and retired. This is still such a
fun project. I'm your host,Susie Wargen. This episode's guest is another
Colorado native, gone NFL with avery nice pit stop at my alma made
Colorado State University. Sean Moran grewup in Aurora and attended Overland High School.

(01:04):
He was recruited by Earl Bruce,but only spent one year under Earl
before he was fired. Sean wason an advisory committee to help interview the
next coach and basically told the powersthat be that if they didn't hire Sonny
Lubick, he would start the painfulprocess of transferring. This was a much
more difficult task back in the earlynineteen nineties than it is today. Thankfully,
they hired Sonny and Sean had astellar career at CSU as a defensive

(01:27):
lineman. He was selected by theBills in the fourth round of the nineteen
ninety six draft and played for eightseasons in the NFL between Buffalo, Saint
Louis and San Francisco. During histime with the Rams, he was on
the losing end of a Super Bowlthat Saint Louis was highly favored to win.
Instead, some rookie named Tom Bradygot the victory. Shortly after retiring

(01:47):
from the NFL, Sean became afirefighter, which he continues to do today,
along with being a husband and fatherto three children, one of whom
will be following his footsteps to theCSU football team. In the fall of
twenty twenty, Ladies and Gentlemen,Sean Moran cut Traded Fired Retired podcast with

(02:07):
Susie Wargin. Hello, Sean Moran, Hello there, how are you?
I'm doing great, Susie, howare you good? It's always fun to
have a ram in, Yes,ma'am. And we saw each other at
the Green and Gold game a whileback at the spring game, and it's
good to connect. And lots ofCSU ties and you even have more that
are coming through, and we're goingto talk about that. But absolutely you

(02:28):
bleed Green and Gold as much asanybody else so and are very very Colorado
too. So we're going to startback with your roots in Aurora. You
grew up in Aurora, you goto Overland High School. What kind of
sports did you do growing up?How did football become your mainstay? Well?
Actually I was better at swimming inhigh school than I was at football,
no kidding. Yeah, I wasan All American swimmer one state and

(02:51):
my event in the hundred breastroke andfinished third I think in the fifty three.
And I had a couple of scholarshipoffers for swimming from Purdue and Arizona
State and was appointed to the AirForce Academy and football as well, and
I decided to go to CSU.Air Force wanted you for swimming. Air
Force wanted me for football, primarilyfootball, okay, but they didn't have

(03:13):
a preference one way or the other. They were like, if you want
to be a swimmer, then youcan come here to do that too,
no kidding, all right, Sobreaststroke was your that was your game in
swimming. How did you get intothat and then also be a great football
player? Always I'd always love thewater. I always loved being in the
water and grew up swimming in theneighborhood swim teams, and my parents always

(03:34):
had a rule if you're not ina sport, you need to get a
job. And not wanting to geta job, I just decided to join
it like a good idea other sport. So I played sports year round.
What was your winter sport at thetime, swimming and then and then baseball
in the spring. And then itswitched my junior year, so swimming switched
to the spring. Okay, SoI quit playing baseball, kept swimming because
I was decent at it, andthen I played basketball in the winter,

(03:57):
oh man, so for sport athletesand then football. You played middle,
linebacker and tight end at Overland HighSchool? Yes, man, I played
for gentlemen by the name of TonyManfreddy who was there for thirty plus on
time and he's in the Colorado SportsHall of Fame. Yeah, great gentleman
played football himself at Syracuse and wasa tight end at Syracuse and so new
the NC two A ranks and nevermade it to the NFL. But that's

(04:20):
fine. He was a heck ofa coach. Absolutely did a lot of
good things with a lot of different, really good players. We had at
the time five different kids that playedin the NFL on our team at Overland.
At Overland at the well, yeah, would you prefer offense or defense?
I prefer defense. I like tobe the hitter instead of the hitty.
Didn't like much getting hit, youknow, when I was playing tight

(04:42):
end. Didn't really like blocking,so I loved being the one that run
downhill and knocked the snot out ofpeople. But those tight end scales came
in handy and a game we'll getto for CSU right, absolutely. Okay,
So you go through your time atOverland High School. When do you
start to kind of get letters andnotice by the colleges and you start having
scouts at games and whatnot. Youprobably had scouts there because you had such

(05:03):
a talented team too. Yeah,not till my senior year. Really,
I was a smaller kid, ifyou can believe it. I'm six foot
four and three hundred and twenty fivepounds now, but back then I was
six' three and about my senioryear, I was about two ten.
And then after swimming going into likeI arrived at CSU at about one hundred
and ninety five pounds. Oh wow, Yeah, it wasn't the size that

(05:26):
I. Swimming will keep you veryspelt, and you need to be that
for getting through the water. Andwe swim. We did two days the
whole season. We would swim atfive in the morning and then again at
three in the afternoon. Wow,to get ourselves in shape for primarily the
state championship meet. I bet youate a ton of calories, absolutely it
eight ten thousand calories a day.Oh my goodness. Those are the fun

(05:46):
days. Those are the days,yeah, and you could burn them off
like crazy, and these days wejust can't. For some reason. Yeah,
now that we hit the big fivezero, it's uh right in a
different corner. Ex changed a littlebit, don't they shot? Yeah?
Okay, So then what went intothe decision to go to ce issue?
Really it was Earl Bruce and hisstaff of guys. He had a defensive
coordinator named Steve Zabo who coached fifteentwenty years in the NFL with the Carolina

(06:10):
Panthers. Mike Turgovac, he mightstill be coaching with the Carolina Panthers.
He coached with the Green Bay Packers. And he's the gentleman that showed up
at my house with Earle coming later. And they just did a phenomenal job
recruiting me. What sold you besidesthem? Did the schools sell it?
And for college? Yeah? Absolutelywell. We went up on my recruiting
trip. There was I want tosay twenty of us on that recruiting trip

(06:30):
on that same weekend. Brady Smith, Greg Myers, Ray Jackson, Scott
Lynch, Garrett sand guys. Alot of these guys played in the NFL
and we all signed on that sameweekend. And it was the weekend that
they were having the banquet for theFreedom Bowl, and so we got to
go to that banquet. That wassmart. That's kind of what said.
It sealed the deal, huh.And we knew that they were turned had

(06:53):
turned the program around because forever,I mean you went to CEESU as well.
You know that the history they hadbeen to one bowl game and the
Freedom Ball was only the second bowlgame that they had played in. That
was a big deal. It washuge. And so the fact that the
program was turning around and they hadjust had a ten win season and I
saw the light at the end ofthe tunnel. Earl was a great coach.
I got along with him well,and he unceremoniously got fired a couple

(07:15):
of years later for some off thefield stuff that happened. And then holy
cow, we hit the gold minewas Sonny Lubit You won the Jackpop.
But that was a tough transition.You and I were talking before we started.
When Earl gets fired, you're partof a pretty much advisory board of
captains that are able to sit inon some interviews and try and help figure
out who's going to be the nextcoach. And you had some thoughts about

(07:39):
leaving at I was not cemented tostay at CSU. I had options.
I was talking to the University ofOregon and a few different places, and
like I said, it wasn't cementedthat I was going to stay. And
I sat in on the advisory boardand I pretty much told him that if
it's not Sunny Lubick, then I'mout of here. I didn't want to

(07:59):
leave. And then people didn't reallyleave. Transferring meant you had to sit
out a year. Yes, butI felt so strongly about coach Lubick that
had they not done it, Iwould have been gone. And you don't
even remember who the other candidates were. I really don't, because he was
the only one that was worth thetime. Do you remember anything about sitting

(08:20):
in on that interview process with himthat stood out to you? Just the
fact that he's so humble and he'ssuch a type of guy who just won
two national championships at the University ofMiami, and he's a Montana kid at
heart, played high school ball thereand played college ball there, and you
know, like the whole thing forhim, he's just such a an individual

(08:41):
that you want to be around.He made the other candidates disappear in my
opinion, I remember who they are, and he had that kind of an
aura about him. It still does. Just a great man, absolutely wonderful
family. His wife Carol, Joeand his and his kids are just unbelievable
people and love having them around.He's a great man. I've done a

(09:01):
lot of episodes with this podcast,and his is still one of my favorites,
just because his stories and he issuch a humble person and was able
to bring out the best and bea father figure for so many athletes.
Absolutely, he was a surrogate fatherto me. That's how much he meant
to me. Still really close withhis family, love seeing him whenever I
get a chance to get up thereand see him. And now my son

(09:22):
gets to go up there and visithim, so I know, oh,
it's going to be so cool.And we're going to get to more about
your son too as we go along. But you mentioned Brady Smith and some
of those guys that you went inwith. You were all in your freshman
season together, but you and Bradybecome quite the combo. That was pretty
terrifying two quarterbacks. What made thetwo of you click so well on that

(09:43):
defensive side. Well, the ironicthing about Brady and myself was we were
born on the same day. You'rekidding in fifth nineteen seventy three. We
have the same Gemini. I'm aGemini as well. That's why we like
it exactly. The ironic part aboutit is that we're completely one and eighty
degrees different from each other. Bradyis more of a quiet, soft spoken

(10:05):
individual, and I'm more and you'renot loud. It couldn't be any funnier
because we were so different but yetso alike in our competitiveness and our wanting
to be perfectionists and wanting to makeour teammates better around us and make each
other better, and compete with eachother and try to one up each other

(10:28):
all the time. Sometimes teammates willhave a sixth sense of where the other
one is. Did you two developthat? Yeah, And it wasn't a
spoken thing. It was something thatI knew Brady would do an inside move
before he did, and so Iwould go around, I would go over
the top because I knew he wasgoing to come underneath. It's just one
of those things that you develop asa team. And it doesn't happen overnight.

(10:48):
It's over time. It's special.You don't see it all the time,
but when it's there, you're like, whoa. And we see it
with the Nuggets, we see itwith the Joker and Jamal like they just
know where the other one is.And it does take time to develop that.
And when it's there, Holy smokes, there can be a lot of
things that can happen. And unfortunately, I don't think we're going to see
that happen as much in college nofall anymore. No, And that's you

(11:09):
know, you hit the nail onthe head. I think that college sports
is changing, unfortunately, not forthe better. Right, This whole nil
thing has changed the face of thegame, and people are chasing money now
instead of trying to build programs andbuild dynasties, and they just want to
chase the money. And now you'rea dad on that side with your son

(11:31):
Jack. So was that weird goingthrough that with when Jack was trying to
figure out where to go? Itwas. But at the same time,
we've tried to keep him so groundedgood that he understood the whole recruiting process.
And this isn't about money, kid, This is about learning how to
grow up. This is learning howto truly have the values that I think
we all once had. And hewants to build CSU back into that kind

(11:54):
of dynasty that it was twenty andthirty years ago. Good, we need
more like that. And Greg meyerSon, I'm assuming is probably very similar
because Greg doesn't mess around with anyof that stuff either. No, and
same with John Howell and his kid. And yes, we have another one
of my teammates, George Shram Hisson is up there now too, Rock
Oshramp. And so they're starting tobring some of the kids back from our

(12:15):
era and they'll have that mentality thatyou guys had, absolutely, yeah,
which is really important, and theywant to stay and build things good.
And so I love hearing that whatit's worth. Hopefully it's headed in that
right direction, Yeah, I hope. So. All right, I mentioned
how your tight end scales came inhandy. You had a seventy seven yard
fumble return for a touchdown against Arizona, which is the highlight that everybody loves

(12:35):
talking about. With Sean Moran,go through that play a little bit and
kind of what happened and did youactually believe that it actually came true?
Yeah? No, it was oneof those games where we went in with
the mindset of they were the desertSwarm and they were the big bad Desert
Swarm with Tim bruce Ki and ChuckOsbourne and a couple of different guys that

(12:56):
played in the NFL for their team, and they were the vaunted number one
ranked Sports Illustrated team that year.And so we went in thinking, Wow,
it'd be great to have a goodgame against him and put up some
decent numbers. But I don't knowhow or why we won that thing.
It was just a belief in eachother that we're going to go down there
and do this so unbelievable game.It was unbelievable game. And on the

(13:16):
play I actually didn't get blocked.I went around to end and Garrett sand
was on a blitz our middle linebackerand came right up the middle and hit
the quarterback. He was trying tohand it off to the running back,
and he hit him before he wasable to hand it off to the running
back, and ball just started tumblingand it popped right up into my hands
and I had to bend over alittle bit to pick it up, but
it just popped right into my handsand I Randy five eighty yards with it,

(13:41):
and so yeah, but yeah,we ended up winning that game.
Twenty one to sixteen, I believewas the final score for us. To
go down to Tucson and do whatwe did and then be four or five
and zero at the time and beranked in the top ten was an incredible,
incredible thing. I think everybody rememberswhere they were that night. I
was actually I had a DJ businessand I was still trying to make it
in radio, and I was DJinga frat party, a CSU frat party

(14:05):
up in winter Park, and sothe game was on, but I was
DJing the friend and people kept givingscores and I'm like, they're winning.
And then when the game was overand that party turned into a massive party.
It was absolutely crazy, and forCollins was crazy and it was just
that was a huge, huge gamefor the program. No. Absolutely,
And I was dating my future wifeat the time, still my wife,

(14:28):
you're then girlfriend, now wife,yes exactly, and the mother of my
three kids. And we've been marriednow for more than twenty six years now
and so great woman. Love herto death. She's my pride and joy.
Did you meet at c Isshue?We were already dating. You're already
dating? Okay, We started datingearlier in nineteen ninety four, So she

(14:48):
knew you before you were a bigdeal. Yeah. I don't know that
I was ever really a big deal, but but yeah, that's important though.
Yeah, that's what I met myhusband and he was like, what
is KATC? And I'm like,you don't know the radio station I work
for? Who are you? What'swrong with you? But I'm like,
that's the beauty of it. That'sgreat. Yeah, all right. So
in your time at CSU, yourtwo time first team all whacked defensive lineman,

(15:09):
you go to the East West Shrinegame after you're done with your time,
and you get drafted in the fourthround by the Bills. What was
that whole process like, wrapping upat CSU and then moving on down the
line into the NFL. It wasan incredible dream of mine from high school,
from even when I was a littleboy. A lot like one of

(15:30):
your former guests, Clint Oldenberg said, I knew as a little kid that
I wanted to do that. Iwant to be a professional athlete, and
not just a professional athlete, Iwant to be a professional football player.
I grew up watching Carl Mecklenberg andLawrence Taylor and John Elway and some of
these guys that from around here,Clarence k and Dennis Smith and that Orange
Crush time. Yeah, Louis right, Louis Wright and those guys are just

(15:50):
phenomenal, phenomenal people. I actuallygot the pleasure to play with Andre Carter's
got to watch him growing up.His dad played for the Orange Crush.
He's a nose tackle for the DenverBroncos back in the day. I got
to play with Andrea in San Franciscoa few years later. But that draft
day was incredible walking through that.Wade Phillips was the guy who called me,

(16:11):
oh, that's cool. Yeah,and he was a defensive coordinator at
Buffalo at the time. Marvel Levywas in a meeting or something when it
happened, so I didn't get acall from Marv, but I got the
call from Wade. I take thatany day, absolutely, And so I'm
at my parents' house in Aurora.The whole family was there, and my
teammate T J. Cunningham was thereas well. Just a phenomenal, phenomenal
day, and my dreams had cometrue. Fourth round draft pick by the

(16:34):
Buffalo Bills, and Wade said,we're about to pick you. What do
you think about coming to a Buffaloand I was like, really Buffalo at
the time, you know, that'sone of the teams that you don't want
to be drafted by because the weather. Obviously you want to be drafted by
San Diego or yeah, and uh, but no, it couldn't have turned
out any better. And my fouryears in Buffalo were incredible, playing for

(16:56):
coach Phillips. After two years,Marv retired and then Aide became the head
coach. That's great. So Ireally got lucky. And he's a special
coach. I mean to go fromSunny like guys that left c s U
and then they go someplace and they'relike, whoa, this is so different.
But you go and you have WadePhillips as your DC and then your
head coach. It was incredible.I was incredibly lucky to have him.

(17:19):
I couldn't have been happier with mytime in Buffalo. The people of Buffalo,
New York, aren't they. Wewent back to a game last year.
Actually it was the game after TomorrowHamlin had his incident. Yeah,
in Cincinnati. It was the followingweek that we went there, playing New
England at home and uh, andit was my first time being able to
go back because raising three kids,they're all playing sports and being involved,

(17:41):
and I was trying to help coachthem and and do all these different things.
And now we've got two kids outof the house of one you know,
soon to be out of give youa little more time, doesn't it,
exactly? So we were able totake them back to a game.
And the people there are just incredible. The Bill's lafia is are you amazing?
It's a wonderful thing, and it'sfun to go now be on the

(18:03):
other side of it and go tailgatewith the fans, and to be on
that side of it is incredible.We've had a few games in Buffalo since
I've been doing the sidelines for theBroncos, and as long as the I
mean, I've had some games whereI have frozen my rear off. But
if the weather's decent, and I'mreally looking forward to the new stadium because
they're positioning it and doing some coolthings to try and account for what happens
with the wind and the weather there. Hopefully it is. The fans there,

(18:26):
it's really cool. The people ofBuffalo are just super nice, very
very kind. Yeah, there incrediblepeople. Yeah, I couldn't have been
happier with my time there. Whathappens then as your time is up there?
Are you a free agent? Yeah, so time's wrapping up. I
played in my last game, whichwas the Music City Miracle. I played
in that game unfortunately. Yeah,I have a tale of number of games

(18:47):
that were sore games to lose.Now, there was a Super Bowl there
too, We'll get to that.Yeah, but no, so this is
my time's wrapping up. In Buffalo, it was heading in a direction.
Bruce Smith was moving on from theBills. He had played I want to
say, fourteen years in Buffalo andthen they parted ways. At the same
time, Steve Tasker was leaving,Andre Reid was retiring, Thurman Thomas was

(19:10):
leaving. Jim Kelly retired already.Oh wow. So the core guys,
which I wasn't a core guy Iwas, you were there at the same
time I was there. Yeah,it makes a difference. No, And
I started for Wade for probably sixteenor seventeen games for him, playing defensive
end and defensive tackle, and wegot along very well. So it wasn't
the relationship between us. It wasagain the business side of football that comes
into play and the Saint Louis Ramsmade an offer. So I left.

(19:34):
And Saint Louis Rams had just wona super Bowl in nineteen ninety nine while
I was losing the Music City Miraclewith Buffalo, and the super Bowl champs
call you and want you on theirteam. That's a pretty uh heck hard
thing to turn down. Absolutely,and you go to a team that is
packed full of future Hall of famerswith absolutely. Kurt Warner's there, Isaac

(19:56):
Bruce Marshall Falk. So you gothere, and you mentioned a game that
was tough to do, and thatwas Super Bowl thirty six. Yeah.
New England's first super Bowl ever inthe beginning of really a dynasty with Tom
Brady. Yeah. Absolutely. Youguys were heavily favored in that game.
Heavily favored. And the reason wewere heavily favored is because the only game
that they had lost six weeks earlierwas to us in New England. We

(20:17):
beat them by fourteen points in NewEngland. Wow, And that's why we
were fourteen point favorites going into theSuper Bowl. You did have a tackle
in that game, Yeah, Isaw the box score. I'm like,
oh, there's one tackle solo.Yeah, no, I got to play
maybe thirty plays. So it wasan unbelievable game and crazy experience right leading
up to a Super Bowl and justthe media hooplah and you guys were in

(20:37):
New Orleans, which hadn't had aSuper Bowl since Katrina. And it was
also the first Super Bowl after nineto eleven. So I mean, the
security, the pomp and circumstance,everything was pretty crazy around that game.
Yeah, it was an unbelievable SuperBowl. I'm hand on my heart singing
the national anthem, and that's kindof the part right before the game starts
where your emotions start reving up andyou start getting ready, amped up,

(21:00):
ready to play. And I lookedat my left and there's a former president,
George Bush, the older George Bush. And I looked at my right
and there's Bill Clinton. I'm standingright next to these two president former presidents.
I'm standing there going, what theheck? Nice to meet you,
sir, Nice to meet you,sir. And then I ran in and
ran down on kickoff coverage. Itwas crazy, that's surreal. Yeah,

(21:22):
and my daughter had just been born, My oldest daughter had just been born
maybe six weeks earlier. It wasa lot of stuff going on, no
kidding, and then to lose thatSuper Bowl, especially when you've been heavily
favored, there's so much going on, such a heightened of everything, emotions
and otherwise. What was that like? And what did you learn from it?
Never give up, never stop trying, never never, don't allow yourself

(21:48):
to quit at anything. It's it'sjust one of those things where I think
we as professional athletes remember the hardlosses more than we remember the big wins.
Absolutely, because of the nature ofbeing your own worst critic. If
you're not your own worst critic,then who is? Is the way I've
always seen it is the way Iwas taught growing up, And so for
what it's worth, you evaluate thatand you say, well, you know,

(22:11):
we've got to do things better ifif we want to be world champs.
And even though we were we werepretty good, we weren't good enough.
Yeah, at the end of theday. So damn Tom Brady.
It's hard to believe that he justretire. I mean, like the fact
that I played against him twenty thousandyears ago. It's right, how can
an old man like that keep playingball? But he's taken such great care

(22:33):
of himself. Yes, and he'shad the money to do that too.
That helps sometimes when you have allthe right trainers and the food and the
chefs and everything else, can helpmaybe live a little bit more, right
exactly. Okay, so you're withthe Rams for two seasons, then you
go to San Francisco. Is twothousand and two, two thousand and three.
What happened there? Was that?Also? Just contract agent? Yeah,
a free agent. Did you everget cut? I did? I

(22:56):
got cut from the Niners. Okayfor the Niners, yeah, go into
that. So, yeah, Iget to spend two years in San Francisco
playing for two different head coaches.Steve Mariucci was my first coach there.
Another sunny like individual, great person, unbelievable guy. My daughter got sick.
My oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancerwhen she was thirteen months old.

(23:17):
She had she had leukemia. Andthen that happened when I was in San
Francisco. Steve Mariucci just dropped everything. He just said, go be with
your family. He said, callme in a day or two when you
figure out what's going on. That'swith your daughter. Amazing, But go
be with your family. Don't worryabout football, right, Now this is
way more important because it was likethe third or fourth week of the season

(23:37):
when she got diagnosed. Wow,And I ended up playing that weekend.
We played in Seattle on Monday night. Football didn't practice all week because they
just said go stay with your family, and we weren't. We weren't going
to get a diagnosis until I cameback from the trip anyway, And so
I flew my wife's one of mywife's best friend out to stay with her
while I went to Seattle for theweekend. It was an unbelievable game.

(24:02):
We win the game and I getthe sack at the end of the game.
Mooch is in the locker room afterthe game and uh, he gives
me the game ball and this isn'tfor anybody in this locker room. You
take this ball your daughter, I'mgonna get choked up in your susan.
That's wow. But yeah, itwas not a dry eye in the locker
room. An unbelievable experience, andwhich is an awesome guy, and so

(24:26):
yeah, he dedicated the game tomy daughter, and it was. It
was. It was great and wewent ten and six that season and won
a playoff game against the Giants inunbelievable fashion when came back from a twenty
four point deficit to come back andwin that game, ended up losing to
the eventual Super Bowl champions in TampaBay that year. And you're dealing with

(24:47):
your daughter the whole time, dealingwith my daughter the whole time. Yeah.
And then he got fired after aten and six season playoff win and
we were like, what the heckis going on? Wow? And so
yeah, he got fired and theybrought in Den Erickson, who was another
sunny guy. They were in Miamitogether, weren't they. He was the
head coach Miami was, Yeah,and they coached together everywhere they went pretty
much, And so that was areally good thing to happen to replace Mooch.

(25:14):
It's pretty hard to do to replacemooge. But then they brought in
Dennis Erickson, and I was like, well, we're improving, and unfortunately
we only went eight and eight inthe first season under him. And they
were moving money around to keep TerrellOwens and he was my teammate back with
the Niners, and so they cutGarrison Hurst, they cut Ron Stone,
who was an offensive lineman, theycut myself, and then they cut.
One other player, Tony Parrish thatI think was his name, is a

(25:37):
strong safety, and so because theyhad to free up cap space. So
your an eight year VET at thatpoint and you're constant too much money,
and so when they keep too andget rid of you, yep, they
sent me on my way. Welcometo the NFL exactly, And so I
got picked up actually for a ninthseason. I was in training camp with
Saint Louis again, got through trainingcamp, but I missed two weeks due

(25:57):
to injury. I pulled a muscleoff one of my ribs. And then
they basically said, we can paya two year guy half what you're making
to do the same things that you'redoing. So we're going to move in
a different direction. And that wasit. I got cut and after training
camp of my ninth training camp.And then was that the same head coaches
when you were there before? Wasit still March? Mike March? Was

(26:18):
March there? Okay? And mydefensive line coach was Bill Kohler. He
was still there, Oh he was. Yeah, we had a good relationship.
It was just it's the business sideof football, and it is I
don't blame anyone other than myself forgetting cut. It was my fault.
You know, you get hurt andsometimes they don't look greatly upon being hurt.
So they didn't want to sit thereand pay pay a guy for being
hurt. So in that ninth season, did you stay in shape and wait

(26:40):
for the phone call? And itnever came, and I flew out to
a number of different places. Iflew out to San Diego. Wade was
a defensive coordinator in San Diego atthe time, and so he flew me
out there, so did some workouts, did a couple of workouts. I
flew out to see Mike Tice.He was the head coach of Minnesota.
We got along really well and heworked me out, but just they didn't
have a need for defensive line,and he just wanted to see what kind
of shape I was in and ifthey needed it down the line come playoff

(27:04):
time or end of the season,then they would sign me. But nobody
ended up signing me. So Iended up retiring after that season, and
that was two thousand and four,and then in two thousand and six I
became a fireman and I've been eversince. So did you start with Aurora?
No? I started with a placecalled Fairmount, which is out in
Golden Yes, yeah, it's acombination department. But I was a volunteer

(27:27):
with them for two and a halfyears and then I got hired in Aurora
in two thousand and nine. Whatmade you decide to become a firefighter.
It's in the family, in theblood. My uncle, my dad's brother,
was on FDNY for twenty five yearsand he just passed away maybe three
or four years ago. But grewup watching my uncle be, you know,
around the New York City. Hehit his firehouses in Hell's Kitchen in

(27:52):
New York City and so they wereextremely busy. But growing up seeing him.
Both my grandfathers were police officers.One was the chief of police,
and you've got that first responder.Absolutely. My brother's a Coppitt Aurora.
We bleed blue, and so Ijust had an inkling that I was that
was what I was going to do. I want me And one of my
teammates when I was in San Francisco'sname is Travis Kirsky. He's the defensive

(28:17):
coordinator at Valor. Now, yes, his brother is on with South Metro.
He's a lieutenant, or at leastwas a lieutenant at the time.
I haven't talked to him in afew years, but he was a lieutenant
with South Metro at the time,and so I didn't really know where to
start. So I called Travis andI just said, Hey, we've talked
about being firefighters before when we werewith the Niners. Do you have any
idea how I can get started?Because I have no idea what to do

(28:37):
to get started, right, Yeah, what's the entry level position look like?
Exactly? And so he put mein touch with his brother, and
so I went and met with hisbrother and we had a great conversation over
lunch. He told me to gosee this chief that he knew was his
training chief over at Fairmount, andgo see this guy and they'll point you
in the right Direction's perfect. SoI went to EMT School in two thousand
and six and then got hired intwo thousand and six with Fairmount, and

(29:03):
they put me through an academy inO seven. Then I got hired in
a Row in two thousand and nine, and you've been there ever since.
Wow, fifteen years now. Iam amazed, Sean at how many former
players I've talked to now that arenow firefighters. Chase Bond's been on Zach
Golditch. There's a number of them. Yeah, And I got to talk
with Zach too when he was firsttrying to get hired, just wanting to
ask some questions about the interview processand because it's it's something that the general

(29:29):
population doesn't really totally understand and totallylike we're going through polygraph tests that are
being done by former FBI officers,like they're intents, they're really intense.
For a fifty thousand dollars year startingout at fifty thousand dollars year job,
You're like, what do I haveto do? Restaurant background shock? But
the nature of it is people haveto trust you. On their worst day,

(29:52):
they call nine one one and weenter their houses and they have to
be able to say that if mywallet is sitting there, I can trust
him to come in my house andnot take my wallet or not take you
know, we're going to trust themat the very highest level. Yeah,
and that's why there's so much securityinvolved with it. So that part of
it was it's very intense and it'svery hard to get through because there's so

(30:12):
many people that sign up for it, and that part probably breaks them doesn't
it. It does, Yeah,and quite honestly, it's very, very
humbling. I got told no forthe first time in my life. I
took my first test ever with WestMetro and I was the number three candidate
out of fifteen hundred applicants and theytold me no. Who for one reason
or another? And they don't haveto give you the reason, they can

(30:33):
just say no. And so Ilater found out that it was because they
said that I had too many drivingor speeding tickets when I was a teenager.
And I'm like, well, I'mthirty five years old. Now,
I've grown, I know how todo things better now. I haven't had
a speeding ticket in seventeen years.Oh my goodness. So anyhow, it
was just one of those things wherewrong place, wrong time. Yeah,
and your hometown took yet right,My hometown took me in and that kind

(30:56):
of felt a little bit more nostalgicand absolutely and I actually got a job
offer from West Metro while I wasin the academy with Aurora. Yeah,
because I tested with it and didn't. I got to tell them now.
So anyhow, it's ironic, youknow, and you love it. I
love aur and I love being afirefighter and I'm paramedic as well. Okay,

(31:18):
so I do both. In somecities that means you have to ride
on an ambulance if you're a paramedic, but I still ride on a fire
truck. I'm on a ladder Companysixteen now that's up by the Gaylord Hotel,
and I worked on latter two formy off and on for the first
ten or twelve years of my career. That's the hazmat station. That's the
busiest station in Aurra and quite frankly, it's the busiest station in America in

(31:41):
my opinion. Not often did weget away with not running more than twenty
four or twenty five calls in aday. Ow it's extremely busy, and
there's three rigs that run out ofthere. There's a hazmat rig that isn't
staffed fully staffed, and there's anengine who was staffed by four guys and
gal, and there's four guys onthe truck company. So there's a total

(32:05):
of anywhere from ten to twelve guysand gals there on any given day.
Is that a lot? So twentyfour calls is just per rig. Oh,
the station's running seventy five to eightycalls a day. Whoa holy count.
Now compare that to what do youdo now at that your station?
About what's the app average? Maybeto a day. Oh and there's eight
of us at that station and it'sa double company, okay, and we

(32:27):
average maybe too a day. Soit's crazy how different parts of the city
are. Yeah, to the airportas well. No, no, just
so Denver has the airport. Okay, that would make sense. They have
five or six stations that's around theairport, only like airport, and they're
really really slow. They don't obviouslythey don't run a whole lot of calls
either. Those guys are puff.They have a lot of time to work

(32:51):
out, you know. That's that'skind of our nature now too, is
there's not a whole lot of residentialspace up there now. They're building.
They're building a lot. Oh yeah, but for what it's worth, it's
not quite there yet. And you'llhave that whole new area off of four
seventy and six and that, andthat's just bustling like crazy. Okay,
you're about to get busier, Yeah, about to get a lot busier.

(33:12):
And they've already built maybe fourteen orfifteen warehouse, big hundreds of thousands of
feet square feet in these warehouses andconvention centers, and so we cover the
Gallord. It's not just houses,it's everything. It's two million square feet
in the Galelor convention center has amillion square feet. The hotel itself has
a million square feet, and they'readding on to it. I don't know
how you guys don't get lost whenyou go to places like that. We

(33:34):
go there every day. That's howwe don't get lost. We do.
And they have a coffee shop there, so we ended up going for coffee
then, But then we do sometraining there as well. We'll go in
the basement and go down in thekitchen areas and talk to some of the
people don't oh that's smart and tryto figure out like do our radios work
down here? And so we doa lot of training there. Oh so
you literally are not for calls,but you're there every day, whether it

(33:55):
be for coffee or training or somethingelse, okay or yeah, So we
spend a lot of It's not abad place to hang out, and it's
right across the street from the station, so it's easier than oh yeah,
did they feed you when you gothere, you get some food you wish
is still open? Right, No, I wish they would. Well,

(34:16):
it's awesome that you do. That. Tell me a little bit about family.
You've got three kids, two daughters. You've talked about them. Is
your one daughter good? Now?Yeah, she's uh. She she actually
had a second bout with cancer whenshe was up at CSUH my goodness.
They resected her tonsils because she gotstrap throat. She was prone to getting
stripped throat, so we didn't thinkanything of it, but they said we
want to take her tonsils out thistime when she was I want to say

(34:37):
she was nineteen. So they tookextra wide margins when they took her tonsils
out because of her history, andthere was cancer cells in her tonsils they
found out well, and then afterall the testing they found out that it
was nowhere else in her body,and so they didn't have to do chemo
and radiation different stuff that comes alongwith cancer, but nonetheless was still diagnosed

(35:00):
with that type of cancer. Wow, bless her heart. What So,
Yeah, she's she's been through theringer and she'll be twenty three in August.
She's a trooper. Yeah. No, kidding. So that's my daughter
Sophia. And then my daughter Graceis uh is that Northern Arizona. She's
just got accepted in the nursing schooland so she's a champion, she's she's
awesome. They're another first responder,very good. And then my son Jack

(35:22):
has just graduated and he's setting upto see a shoe to play for coach
Norvelle. Yep, he got signedto a full scholarship back in April of
twenty three. They offered him,so about a year more than a year
ago now they offered him and weaccepted about three weeks later. And uh,
there were some other schools recruiting inWwayoming and Air Force was looking at
him, and some other Montana andMontana State, some other FCS schools,

(35:45):
FBS schools, but his number onewas CSU. All. We've got pictures
from when he was two years oldgoing to ram games and yeah, we
did that with our kids too.Remember you've been here a lot, yep,
and so you know he's all he'sbeen around fantas whole life. So
to be able to go up thereand play for them and Coach Norville is
unbelievable person reminds me of somebody thatI played for, and so they've got

(36:09):
to win some games here for himto get the same accolades. But he's
a great man, great person.I have no doubt that he'll do great
things up at CSU. I'm excitedthat this whole group of kids of players
that I watched and covered are nowgoing to be this new age at CSU.
And I really do think that evendespite the landscape of what's going on
with NIL, that you guys haveinstilled these principles in your sons that I

(36:35):
hope will keep them there and havea family similar to the family that you
guys enjoyed. Absolutely, I thinkthat the key to the whole thing is
the core, right, the coreguys. And now that Jack Howell's up
there and rock O Shram, GregMyers, kid Dagan Myers, and now
Jack Moran gets to go up there, and you know, to be those

(36:57):
guys, it's a burden, buta welcome burden for them that has been
placed upon them. So there's higherexpectations of them, but they all they
still underneath it absolutely because that's whothey are, that's how they were raised,
and they had the great role modelsto show them the way. So
they need that up there. Theyneed that grounding group. And my son's
not a part of it yet.He's not up there yet, and so

(37:19):
I hope that he becomes part ofthat. Hey, well I got a
chance to meet him a couple ofweekends ago. He's he's going to be
just fine. Well, yeah,I think that to have that group of
guys to show them this is whatwe're trying to build here. We're trying
to build something here and we're notjust going to leave and take money to
go to Oklahoma or to go towherever in two years. We want to
build this place back into what itused to be. Love it and compete

(37:43):
at the highest level against the bestteams in the land. And I mean
they played Texas in week one,you know, so if you wanted a
challenge here, it comes be ready. Yeah. A lot of people say,
well, they finished in the finalfour last year. There's no a
CSU can beat them. Well,they said the same thing when we went
on Arizona and beet them. Damnthis trade, it's doable. There you
go, there, you go,all right, Sean, last question for

(38:05):
you, and you've listened to someof the episodes. You know this is
coming. What's your advice? Youhave three successful kids and you are a
veteran now with the fire Department.What do you tell people when they have
those down moments. You didn't getcut till the very end, you didn't
hear no until you went and youknow, applied it at West Metro.
So, but you've had those downtimes. You've lost a Super Bowl, so

(38:25):
you know what it feels like.What do you tell people to get back
up and move on? You constantlyhave to reinvent yourself. You have to
find something new. Whether it's doingthe same thing that you're doing, but
reinvent yourself in that in that game. Whether it's football, whether it's being
a nurse, or whether it's playingthe piano, it doesn't matter. Reinvent

(38:45):
yourself and find a way to reinventyourself. I've always taken the mindset of,
like I said, I'm my ownworst critic, and I set the
bar as far as don't ever believethat you're going to fail at something,
because then you will fail. Ifyou have that thought enter your mind,
you're going to fail. Always havethe mentality of the positive mentality of there's

(39:05):
no way in hell, I'm notgetting through this and I'm not going to
be the best at this. Iam going to be the best at this,
and I'm going to set my mindto it and I'm going to do
it. And that's the thought processthat that I had growing up. That's
the thought process that was taught bymy awesome parents. Always believe you're the
best, and it'll come true,and you will work hard enough and you

(39:27):
will do the things that are necessaryto put you in that position. And
so work hard, keep your mouthshut, work hard, keep your head
down, and have your eye onthe price always, and never lose focus.
And I said last question, butI thought of one more as you
were saying that, because you've hadyour daughter that went through two bounts of
cancer. So now, as aparent, how do you counsel a child

(39:47):
for getting through that? And wasit kind of that same mentality of you
know, you got this and youjust keep pushing forward. I think optimism
is what got us through. Thatperpetual optimism. We not once believe that
we were going to lose my daughter. I've been to twelve different funerals of
I didn't actually go to the funeral, but of friends of ours that we

(40:09):
made friends with in the hospital,and every single one of their kids died.
Gosh, and it was devastating.But I could not bring myself to
go to the funerals because I didn'twant that reality to set in my brain.
I wouldn't let it and I wouldn'tlet people come in the room because
she's thirteen months old. She doesn'tknow any better. She doesn't have the

(40:30):
mentality of oh, now I havecancer, and so I'm supposed to be
depressed and I'm supposed to be Shedidn't know, and so when she got
chemotherapy, it'd helped. It waskilling the cancer, and so it was
helping her feel better, and soshe was in a great mood. And
so I didn't want people coming inthe room, anyone coming in the room
with tears in their eyes and ohmy god, be confused. And so

(40:53):
I didn't want that mentality at allaround my kid. Good for you.
And so it was one of thosethings where no, we're gonna be positive
and we're gonna we're gonna hugg herand we're gonna love her, and we're
gonna be happy for her. We'regonna laugh, and we're gonna have great
times and and that's what's gonna getus through this. And it did,
and it did. I love it. This was awesome, Sean, thank
you, Thank you. Sometimes Iget people to cry, sorry about that.

(41:15):
I'm an emotional kind of guy,that's all right. Yeah, a
lot of guys are. And thenall of sudden something will come up and
be like, oh dang, thatcaught me off guard. So yeah,
that's it. Was awesome, Susie, and thanks for having me. Absolutely
you got it.
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