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Free Thump Belton!

It seems only natural that the Denver Broncos and Syracuse Orange share common interests. We're both blue and orange. We're both located in geographic locations that work to our advantage and make others wonder why we migrated there in the first place (One mile high, Upstate New York). And we both have bitter rivalries with a group of loud, obnoxious degenerates who are as apt to defecate in the stadium during a game than they are to cheer for their team (Raiders, West Virginia).

And we also share a common interest in Thump Belton.

Keith Da'Shawn "Thump" Belton, a former fullback at Syracuse who graduated in 2003 after two seasons and 537 yards gained, bounced around the NFL briefly before retiring to his home in Charlotte to be a teacher and assistant football coach. One of his players, Daryl Vereen, will be seen on the Tenneessee sidelines this season. The post-football life for Thump was just beginning when he received a call from the Denver Broncos in December, asking him to try out for the upcoming team.

"Denver was the first team to call me, and that's where I really wanted to go anyway. I watched Denver games every week. I knew their injury report before anybody else knew their injury report. So when the call came, I was grateful. They called me when I'd gotten out of my classes, and they asked me, 'How fast can you get to the airport?' I asked them, 'How fast do you want me there? So I came with three T-shirts, three pairs of jeans and two pairs of shoes, and that's all I had in my carry-on. It was a one-way (ticket). I figured I'd buy everything else when I got here."

This is where "Fan in Exile" comes in. According to MyDenverObsession, a Denver Broncos fan with the screen name
Fan In Exile read a post on the message board about players on the roster that would certainly be cut before the season even started. He was struck most by the negative nature of the post and the way fans ridiculed unknown Broncos.

FIE decided to scour the list of unknowns to find someone he could champion and he found what he was looking for in Belton. Thump has very limited pro experience and was positioned behind guys like Kyle Johnson, Troy Fleming, Cecil Sapp and Paul Smith on the depth chart. However, it was the idea of having a fullback named Thump that made him the most appealing candidate. The Free Thump Belton movement had begun.

MyDenverObsession, Mason's Morsels and many other in the Bronco collective has caught Thump fever. Thump has even attracted a Chuck Norris-level aura on his Wikipedia page:

Thump Belton is the reincarnation of the entire 1971 Miami Dolphins team, and is said to have slain three bears before he reached the age of two.

(If you go to his Wikipedia page and that's no longer there, don't be surprised. Damn Wikis and their need for truthiness)

Does Belton has a realistic shot of making the team? Hard to say. He's got a lot of experienced guys in front of him. But if there's any system that an unknown back can thrive and get a chance in, its the Broncos system. Regardless of how it ends up, I defer to MyDenverObsession for the final word:

Whatever happens, I agree with my exiled friend. Thump Belton is more than just ‘camp fodder’ or ‘filler’. Like every other unknown player, he has a story. He has beliefs and passion. He has the desire to play football and is willing to work toward that dream. Few people will lay aside their stable jobs and move away from their families to follow their dreams, but many NFL players do that every year.

To catch an interview with the man himself,
click here.