John F. Russell: Superstar dreams stop here


It only took a few statements for Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer to sum up his problems since he arrived in Colorado after the 2002 season.

"Image tarnished, whatever. Role model, blah, blah -- I'm here to play football," Plummer said during a news conference last week.

It's obvious he didn't get that play from John Elway.

Elway, the most beloved quarterback in Denver's history, knows there is a lot more to being successful in Denver than playing the game. The only person Plummer is fooling with that statement is himself.

Plummer could play football in most NFL cities, and if rookie Jay Cutler pans out, Plummer might be looking for a new one sooner than later.

Plummer is here because the Broncos offered him a big paycheck to get Denver back to the Super Bowl.

I've always been a fan of Plummer on the field, but his actions off the field have been hard to defend.

Last week, Plummer received a misdemeanor summons stemming from a minor crash in April. But the accident wasn't as much of a story as Plummer's actions after the event.

Another driver, Doug Stone, accused Plummer of road rage after Stone said the Honda SUV the quarterback was driving cut him off in traffic. When the SUV came to a stop at a red light, Stone said, Plummer got out of his vehicle and kicked Stone's car.

Stone said Plummer then got back into his SUV, put it in reverse and backed into the front of his vehicle. Stone, who had laid on his horn after getting cut off, sparked Plummer's reaction.

That's one story.

Plummer denies kicking the car, and he denies backing into Stone's car. But the one thing that is most disturbing about his response is that he denies any responsibility for being a role model.

I doubt Plummer wants advice from a lifelong Broncos fan, but I'm going to give it just the same.

Hey Jake, if you want fans to stop comparing you to John Elway, then you have to start acting like a professional.

That means you can't give the finger to obnoxious fans who heckle you from the stands. It means you can't make snappy remarks to the media, even when you are hiding under a Grizzly Adam's beard. And whenever possible, you must at least act like you are a person I would like my children to meet.

The money in your bank account comes with strings. One of those strings means that the people of Colorado expect you to set an example on and off the field.

Maybe the next time a fan ticks you off, you can turn the other cheek, pull out your wallet and count money until the tension -- and stupid words -- pass. I know it's not easy living in the spotlight, but just think, it could be worse.

You could be Barry Bonds.


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