Mountains

Larry Brunson returns home

Journal/Sam Green

M-CHS graduate and retired NFL player, Larry Brunson, talks to M-CHS seniors after the school received a $1,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Foundation.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

In 1967, Larry Brunson graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School.

The speedy wide receiver took his game to Mesa State (Colorado Mesa) for two years before transferring to University of Colorado. After college, Brunson spent six seasons in the NFL with Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.

Now a Centennial resident, Brunson returned home Thursday afternoon to present a $1,000 grant to his Alma Mater on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Foundation, who has a business partnership with the Denver Broncos.

The Journal had a chance to sit down and talk with Brunson:

How did you get involved with the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Foundation?

They partner with the Denver Broncos. They go out in caravans, and make the public aware of nutritional health and what not.

Did you grow up in Cortez?

I went to junior high school and high school here. Not in this building, but the old (Calkins) building.

Where did you move here from?

Little Rock, Arkansas.

What was it that you took most from going to school here that led to playing college football and playing in the NFL?

I learned all of my skills here. I didnít know a basketball from a soccer ball when I came here. People reached out and they helped. Somebody saw something in me that I didnít see in myself. It just kind of snowballed from that point on. I had good coaches.

What would you say is the biggest message the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Foundation can give someone?

Pay attention to what you put into your body. Donít take it lightly. Exercise. Had I not been physically fit, I probably wouldnít have accomplished what Iíve accomplished, as far as getting to the highest level of football. I think as a young kid, sometimes you donít take that into consideration. That itís just a ďgimme,Ē that Iím going to be a certain way. Everything comes with hard work. Itís not a ďgimme.Ē

You talked about, that you want to see the school (M-CHS) sportsí programs get back to a level they once were. What would you say are the main things where the school can do that?

I canít tell the school what to do with the program and football isnít everything, itís just an avenue I took. Thatís what I try to relate. I say, ďhey kids. You have something inside of you. Maybe, a dream or something. You might be embarrassed to say what it is. Get it out. Say it. Reach in and get it. It might be what the world wants.Ē You got to encourage these kids.

A $1,000 was also presented to Kemper and Manaugh Elementary sch-ools. Brunson is a member of the Colorado High School Activities Association, Hall of Fame (2007).

Reach Bobby Abplanalp at bobbya@cortezjournal.com.

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