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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
Today on Obscure Athletes we’re starting a miniseries that, like every
miniseries we’ve done here, may or may not one day be completed. I promise to try my very best. We’re going chronologically here, so that means we’re stepping into the DeLorean and setting a destination time of 1999.
The turmoil is palpable in Denver. The greatest quarterback in the history of their franchise just retired, leaving the reigns in the hands of Brian “I’m telling my dad on you” Griese, and the remaining offensive star, running back Terrell Davis, has just gone down four games into the season. The team is 0-4.
Enter Olandis Gary. In the fifth game of the season he rushed for just 64 yards on 20 carries in a win over the Raiders. Gary’s performance picked up over the remainder of the season–one that many Broncos fans consider a lost one. Denver went 6-10 but Olandis Gary finished with 1159 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns in just twelve games.
Gary looked to be the full-time starter in 2000, but on opening night of the season, on Monday Night Football in St. Louis, Gary carried the ball 13 times for 80 yards, but tore his ACL in a 41-36 loss to the Rams, and would miss the whole season. To make matters worse for Gary, future star of this segment Mike Anderson stepped into Gary’s role and racked up 1487 yards and 15 touchdowns, and the team went 11-5.
Gary never regained his full-time starting position in Denver. He would start just four more games in his NFL career, and after 2002, move on to Detroit. He appeared in 13 games, starting one, and rushed for just 384 yards on 113 carries.
Indeed it seems Olandis Gary could have had a long, successful career in the NFL, yet like so many players (Particularly Denver running backs) he was a career victim of injuries. That, coupled with the Broncos’ backfield that once seemed to create thousand-yard rushers out of thin air, left Olandis Gary out of the NFL for good. The system that built up Olandis Gary for one magical 6-10 run in Denver, was responsible for tearing him down. Good thing Olandis Gary has Obscure Athletes to forever preserve his fifteen minutes of fame.