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By HAL MORRIS

FRANKFORT — Jacob Tamme’s season may not have ended the way he wanted, with Denver’s loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl. But the former Boyle County and Kentucky football star had another sold season at tight end for the Broncos.

Tamme had 20 catches for 184 yards and a touchdowns last season, and for his career has 164 catches for 1,594 yards and eight touchdowns in six seasons with Indianapolis and Denver. On special teams, Tamme has 40 career tackles.

Tamme shared his thoughts on last season, his career and his future Thursday when he was the keynote speaker at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Frankfort Convention center:

Question: How tough is it to get over a loss in the Super Bowl?
Tamme: “I think it’s hard  because the disappointing thing is you put so much into it. It takes a lot of things to happen the right way to get a shot. It’s  disappointing not to play your best, that’s the hardest part about it. But I feel like we prepared well as a team, and we did everything we could leading up to the game. That day was  not our day, so there’s really no regret when you’ve prepared as hard as you can,  it didn’t work out and Seattle outplayed us. So going forward, all you can do is say we got outplayed and learn from it and go on and hopefully get another shot one day.”

Question: Coming off the Super Bowl loss, do you approach the offseason differently than if you had won?
Tamme: ”We had a long season, so the offseason’s shorter. The good news is I felt great physically, so I  kept my routine going, workout-wise. I didn’t take a whole lot of time off, and I’m going to do my best to be hitting on all cylinders when we start training camp.”

Question: Having been through a season which ended in the Super Bowl, do you know how to better prepare the second time around for the offseason?
Tamme: “I think you learn something from that experience. It  kind of depends on how the year goes. There’s been some years where I couldn’t play another game if I was asked to. This year, I felt I could have kept the season going. I was really blessed physically and felt good. I worked hard on staying healthy this season, and I think it’s probably given me a leg up going into the offseason.”

Question: You said you may be the best you’ve ever been as a player. What did you mean by that?
Tamme: “As you get more experience and your repetitions increase, as long as you’re keeping your physical attributes, quickness and speed and all that, I feel good in those areas. I feel like I’m getting better as a player every year and ready to get in and excel when I get my opportunities  as an all-around player, being able to contribute on special teams and also step in on offense when I’m called upon. I’m  always excited and ready to go. So I feel good about where I’m at as a player.”

Question: How great was it to score a touchdown in the AFC Championship game against New England?
Tamme: “It was awesome to get a TD in that game and help our team get a win there and know you get to go play for the big one. The culmination of the whole season, we  had a lot of fun playing football last year. The end of the year was very disappointing, the last game, but we really had a lot of fun this year. We had a good group of guys, I enjoyed whatever I was asked to do, I really enjoyed playing football with those guys and being a part of that team last year. Every team is different, this team will be different, but I think it will be another fun one.”

Question: You have one year left on your contract. Do you ever think about that next contract and what might happen in the future?
Tamme: “I don’t even think about any of that stuff. There’s so many different things that can happen for me. It’s just always the NFL business machine is a crazy thing. I’ve seen it in a lot of different ways and I just try to take it one day at a time and do what I’m asked to do. And that’s what I’m gong to keep doing.”

Question: The Broncos have made some big moves early in free agency (signing defensive players  T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware). How excited are you to see the team bringing in these players?
Tamme: “It is exciting as a player to see you team going out and getting guys. But at the end of the day, no team’s ever won a championship in free agency, it’s pretty well documented. It’s going to be about how we come together as a team and how the lockerroom interrupts with each other and the camaraderie we build and the work we put in when we come together in April (for mini-camp) through the end of training camp and through the end of the season. But is exciting to see some top-notch players wanting to come join the squad.”

Jacob Tamme shares a light moment with wife, Allison, during the Governor's Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort today. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is on the right. (Hal Morris photo/all rights reserved)

Jacob Tamme shares a light moment with wife, Allison, during the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort today. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is on the right. (Hal Morris photo/all rights reserved)

By HAL MORRIS
hmorris@amnews.com

FRANKFORT — Jacob Tamme knows his status as an NFL player can have an impact on people, especially young people.

Which is why the former Boyle County and Kentucky football star is always glad to get a chance to speak at various functions to talk about his faith and how it impacts his life.

And Tamme got a huge chance to talk about his faith Thursday when the Denver Broncos tight end was the keynote speaker at the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast a sold out Frankfort Convention Center.

“I try to get around young kids as much as I can because I know when I was young the impact of people were in athletics, you could be a high school player or a college player, meant to be,” Tamme said. “I think it’s an opportunity to give back for me, getting around young folks and things like today. I don’t do a lot of these, but I definitely appreciate the opportunity.”

A long line gathered after the breakfast with people of all ages wanting a picture or autograph and thanking Tamme for spreading his message. Tamme is well aware being an NFL player gives him a bigger platform.

“Just a high school football player coming to talk to my middle school classroom was a huge deal to me. I was always impacted by that sort of thing, so no question that sports gives us a great platform and there’s a lot of guys using sports for good in a lot of different ways. So I try to use this platform as much as I can. This jersey that you wear gives you an ability to make an impact you might not have if you didn’t have that jersey. That’s just how it is, it’s a real thing, good or bad, so you just try to make the most of it.”

Jacob Tamme was the keynote speaker Thursday at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort. (Hal Morris photo/all rights reserved)

Jacob Tamme was the keynote speaker Thursday at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort. (Hal Morris photo/all rights reserved)

The theme of the breakfast was ‘Why Pray?’ and Tamme talked to the crowd about how prayer is part of his life.

“I wanted to center it around why prayer was important, and what it means to me in my own life,” he said. “And sometimes where if I’d been in a better prayer life with God, I wouldn’t have had so much anxiety.”

Tamme related a couple of stories about his experiences at the Senior Bowl and UK’s Pro Day before he was taken in the fourth round  of the 2008 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

“They were a couple of lighthearted stories as it related to that time period in life, things that I’ve learned from that hopefully got related through the stories,” he said.

Tamme said he likes to share his faith whenever possible.

“I do it as much as I can, it is something that’s very important to me. I don’t have any issue saying that,” he said. “I respect everyone’s thoughts and beliefs, but this is something I do believe in, it’s something that’s important to me and it’s something that’s really changed my life over the course of many years.

“So it’s something that’s a neat opportunity to get to come to something like this.”

Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear invite Kentuckians to participate in the 2014 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, to be held Thursday, March 13 at the Frankfort Convention Center.  Kentucky native and current NFL tight end Jacob Tamme will deliver the keynote address.

The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast is a long-standing tradition in Kentucky dating back to 1965 and includes representatives of all three branches of government.  Each year, this nondenominational gathering provides Kentuckians with an opportunity to give thanks for blessings and ask for strength to lead the Commonwealth toward a better future. 
 
“For decades, the prayer breakfast has provided the opportunity for people to slow down for a moment, take a deep breath and reflect on how to personally grow and serve during the upcoming year,” said Gov. Beshear.  “I encourage Kentuckians to join us for this year’s breakfast and share a renewed commitment to our faith and working together to make Kentucky a better place now and for generations to come.”
           
The special guest speaker at this year’s breakfast is Jacob Tamme, a tight end for the 2014 American Football Conference Champion Denver Broncos.  Tamme was born in Danville, Kentucky and went on to play college football at the University of Kentucky and graduated with a Masters of Business Administration before being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008.  Tamme has played in two Super Bowls and received many athletic and academic accolades throughout his career, including the prestigious Bobby Bowden Athlete of the Year Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2007. 
 
Tamme’s family still lives in Kentucky and he keeps strong ties with his hometown, supporting the local community and speaking out about the importance of faith and family in both his personal and professional life.  He and his wife, Allison, are founders of the “Swings for Soldiers Classic” charity event to benefit wounded soldiers.  The money raised from the golf classic goes directly to “Homes for Our Troops”, a program that builds specially adapted homes for wounded veterans. 
 
In addition to Tamme, the March 13 prayer event will feature music, special readings and a Kentucky Proud breakfast including bacon, sausage, eggs, grits, hash brown casserole and biscuits. 
 
Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time and the program will begin at 8 a.m. Eastern time.
 
Tickets are $10 each at the door or $125 in advance for a reserved table of 8. For more information about tickets or to a reserve table, go to http://governor.ky.gov/prayerbreakfast.
 

By LARRY VAUGHT

Fate can work in strange ways, but today it almost seems like Denver tight end Jacob Tamme should be destined to help the Broncos beat Seattle in the Super Bowl in New York and get the championship ring he missed three years ago when the Colts lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl.

Why? Because fate has always been kind to Tamme.

Start with how the former Boyle County and University of Kentucky star met his wife, Allison. The two went to preschool together at Lexington Avenue Baptist Church, started dating the summer after their sophomore year and have never been apart. She was the manager for the Boyle football team. Even when he went to Kentucky and she headed to Western Kentucky, they still spent time together.

And don’t forget that Tamme surprised her by proposing after UK played — and won as fate would naturally have it — in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.

Or what about the way fate intervened to even get Tamme to Kentucky.

He was a three-sport star at Boyle with Division I baseball offers along with numerous Division I football offers. However, he always wanted to go to Kentucky.

He was set to commit to UK and coach Guy Morriss the day after Boyle hosted rival Danville his senior year. But the Admirals stunned Boyle — and ended the Rebels’ school-record 47-game win streak. Tamme didn’t go to UK the next day and then-Boyle coach Chuck Smith — who became the Boyle coach again Friday — will never forget the phone call he got back from Morriss on Monday after he had called to say Tamme wanted to verbally commit.

“I was sick to my stomach when I got the call. I thought I was going to throw up,” recalled Smith. “Coach Morriss told me that he didn’t have a scholarship (in-state receiver Keenan Burton had committed and Morriss was out of scholarships for receivers).

“I told him, ‘Wait one second and I will put you on hold and I will get Jacob out of class and he will commit to you on the phone right now.’ He said, ‘Chuck, you don’t understand. I don’t have a scholarship. That scholarship was taken.’ Then I had to tell Jacob.

“Everyone of us was bummed out. I didn’t feel like leaving the house after we lost. I knew how Jacob felt and why he didn’t go to UK the next day. If he had been warned ahead of time, it would have been different. But we had no clue there was just one scholarship left. It was never brought to our attention and that rubbed me the wrong way. Jacob had other offers, but I knew in my heart where he wanted to go and he knew. I remember it like it was yesterday. But he made the best out of the situation because he’s a class act.”

And fate was there to help him.

Kentucky had a successful season, Morriss bolted for Baylor and before UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart had any idea who he was going to hire as coach he called Tamme and asked him to hold off on making a college choice. Tamme waited, Barnhart hired Rich Brooks and then Brooks found a scholarship for Tamme.

Remember, though, it wasn’t instant success for Tamme, not with offensive coordinator Ron Hudson believing he was too slow to play receiver. Only after Brooks was forced to dismiss Hudson and promote Joker Phillips to offensive coordinator at the end of Tamme’s redshirt freshman season did fate smile on Tamme again.

Phillips moved him to tight end, he caught two touchdown passes against Tennessee and went on to set UK records and earn all-SEC honors. That led to him being drafted by Indianapolis — who just happened to have a quarterback named Peyton Manning who liked Tamme off the field and appreciated his value on the field.

When Manning left for Denver two years ago, Tamme happpened to be a free agent at the same time. Fate — and probably Manning — helped get Tamme to the Broncos and now he’s positioned to win a Super Bowl ring.

Still, fate found a way to help one more time. It was just over a year ago that Allison Tamme was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Family and friends supported the Tammes and the couple’s faith surely had to help as well. Plus, Allison Tamme said she now enoys life even more.

Tamme is completing his sixth season in the NFL. That’s a productive career, but I can still remember former UK special teams/tight end coach Steve Ortmayer telling me that if Tamme lasted a year in the NFL he would be there a long time because of his willingness to adapt and character.

“Ort used to tell that and I really respected his opinion on things, especially the NFL because he was there so long,” Smith, who coached with Ortmayer at UK, said. “He told me all the time they look for character kids and when you get one — and Jacob is not a kid — and they want to be part of the team, they will keep you there. As long as they contribute and produce, that’s the kind of guys you want to build a team with he said. Ort said that all the time, and he was right.”

Smith can still remember watching Tamme play for the first time on the Woodlawn Elementary team when he was probably in the fourth grade.

“I think he also came to my (summer) camp. I used to watch him play Little League,” Smith said. “I would go to games and knew he was a really good athlete. But I knew he played all the sports. I always wondered when he was young if he would continue to play football or like so many kids in Kentucky do if he would get caught up in basketball or maybe baseball. But he was a football guy and stuck with it and the rest is history.”

Fate would not have had it any other way. Tamme is playing in the Super Bowl with former Cats Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan, two players Smith coached at UK, and surely that has to be fate and a sign of a win coming today.

“Good things happen to good people. Call it fate or whatever, but Jacob is a good guy and I can’t wait to watch every play and hopefully see him get the win that I know he wants so bad,” Smith said. “Nobody would deserve it more than him, either.”

Jacob, Luke and Allison Tamme. (photo submitted)

Jacob, Luke and Allison Tamme. (photo submitted)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Baptist Press (http://www.bpnews.net) writer Shawn Hendricks has an excellent story on Denver tight end Jacob Tamme preparing for the Super Bowl.

For those who don’t know Tamme well, this quote about the Bible as a source of strength and guidance for him should be no surprise.

“For me the Bible is the rock and the foundation of God’s Word,” Tamme told Hendricks. “I think it grounds you. For me, there’s all sorts of things that want to get [in your mind] and impact the way that we think. … Just to have that foundation every morning is a discipline that I’m really working on.

By LARRY VAUGHT

When Jacob Tamme was making a name for himself at Boyle County High School, Sarah Jane Tamme admits she wasn’t all that aware of what her older brother was doing.

“I can look at his stats now, but during his high school career, I was still a little kid and didn’t fully understand or appreciate the game,” Tamme said. “The only big memory I have is finding out he broke his leg during a game his sophomore year. He had a full-leg cast, and I wrote him a pretty cute card that’s still in his room at home (in Danville).”

Of course, she fully understands now what her brother has done as he prepares to play in his second Super Bowl when his Denver Broncos take on Seattle on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

“I will be there, probably wearing about 10 layers of clothing,” she said. “But I will be there no matter what, cheering and soaking it all in.”

She did the same thing in Denver when the Broncos beat New England in the AFC championship game and Jacob Tamme had a 1-yard touchdown catch.

“I didn’t get to make it to his first AFC championship game (when he was with Indianapolis), so the opportunity to go this year was exciting enough. His touchdown was an added bonus,” she said. “I don’t think anyone was really expecting that, so we were all going a little crazy. We know how hard he works and how much he deserves it.

“Getting to go back to the Super Bowl is something that is hard to fully comprehend. This is an opportunity that a lot of pro players never get in their entire career — to get to go to two is a huge honor.”

She says she is “definitely proud” of her brother, but she was just as proud three years ago when he went to the Super Bowl with the Colts.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say more proud. Jacob gives it his all 100 percent of the time, no more so now than he did during the 2009-10 season or any other season of his career. I’m always proud, though,” she said.
She’s also proud of her nephew, 2-year-old Luke Tamme. The two got to share a rare experience after the victory over New England at Sports Authority Field.

“We were actually getting ready to leave when he (Luke) took off down the field,” Tamme said. “At first I was trying to get him to turn around, but then I thought it would be cool to let him ‘score a touchdown’ like his dad did.

“I doubt he will remember it when he’s older, but (Jacob’s wife) Allison got a picture of it. That’s one of the coolest parts of all of this to me, that Luke can look back on all of the pictures when he grows up and see what an amazing experience he was a part of.”

Champ Kelly photo courtesy denverbroncos.com

Champ Kelly photo courtesy denverbroncos.com

By LARRY VAUGHT

Ten years ago former University of Kentucky receiver/defensive back Anthony “Champ” Kelly was the offensive coordinator for Lexington Christian. Today he’s the assistant director of pro personnel for the Denver Broncos and headed to his first Super Bowl in New York where the Broncos will play Seattle. Kelly’s climb to this position has numerous Kentucky connections. Not only was he Lexington Christian’s offensive coordinator, but he worked for Nurse’s Registry and Home Health and IBM, both in Lexington. Kelly played with the Lexington Horsemen, an arena football league team, from 2003-06 and was a two-time all-star. He was named general manager and wide receivers coach for the Horsemen in 2007.

He started as an assistant coordinator of pro and college scouting with Denver and has been in his current position for four years.
Kelly, 34, says helping Denver get to a Super Bowl “basically validates that time, effort and hard work pays” because that’s what he’s always done with every job he’s had.

“I was joking with my wife (Stephanie) the other day saying that when she was dreaming of weddings and wedding dresses, I was dreaming of making the big play in the Super Bowl.  Although I never got a chance to play in the NFL, I am still able to realize a dream from another angle. Ultimately, God’s will be done – not Champ Kelly’s. But, He always provides me with ‘immeasurably more.’”

Kelly’s work certainly has put a stamp on the Denver roster as he has been responsible for scouting and evaluating many players on the current roster.

“Through my years as a scout, I’ve learned that successful football programs have successful departments (coaching, scouting, marketing, PR, security, etc).  It takes a singular focus on one goal and quality work from every department and person to achieve that goal,” Kelly said.  “Our executive vice-president John Elway expects us to perform at a level that will produce World Championships, and that is what we aim to do.

“As far as player development, when you have great coaching and tremendous leadership from polished vets, players can’t help but develop. Our players feed off of each other’s energy and they hold each other accountable. No one wants to let his teammate down. That type of commitment and competition from the starters to the practice squad players produces development and wins.”

Kelly says the Super Bowl is “definitely” on the highlights of his football career.

“But don’t forget, I was a player on the Lexington Horsemen Indoor football team that won a National Championship …lol,” Calipari said.  It honestly really hasn’t set-in yet.  I was able to grab my daughter from the stands after the game and allow her to partake in the ceremony and confetti drop. That was my highlight. Of course, she isn’t even 2 yet, so she was more focused on Miles our mascot .. lots of luck.”

Kelly said he is “extremely proud” that former UK players Jacob Tamme, Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan have all played key roles for Denver’s success this season.

“Everyone knows that I’m a diehard UK guy. However, I’m more proud of the type of men Woodyard, Tamme and Trevathan have become.  They are Godly men who have carried themselves with tremendous character on and off the field,” Kelly said. “They all have faced adversity and hardships on various levels. And, each of them continue to persevere. But  we have 53 active players, eight practice squad  players and several guys on IR (injured reserve) that I’m proud to watch achieve. It is a special group of men.”

Kelly is already busy with free agency and the upcoming NFL draft and expects to spend much of his time in New York this week “reviewing” game film.

“But I’m definitely going to enjoy this time with my co-workers and family while staying focused. Our task is not complete yet,” Kelly said.
One thing the Broncos’ success won’t change is the C.H.A.M.P. Camp, annual camps Kelly hosts to help youngsters get quality coaching and life advice. His annual camp in Lexington will be June 20-21.

“We are going to add some new wrinkles and new coaches. We are going to do a little more diversification between age groups so that we can get a little more specific with the younger kids and advanced with the older kids,” Kelly said. “There are other Wildcats achieving, too, besides the ones on the Broncos.

“Former Wildcat quarterback Mark Perry was just named the head coach of Lexington Catholic. He has been a great friend and loyal C.H.A.M.P. Camp coach. I’m sure he will have his entire team on hand. Mike Harmon at Tates Creek coached me and coached with me at the Horsemen.  Paul Raines, the head coach at Dunbar, and I worked together at Lexington Christian Academy.  I’m sure (Henry Clay’s) Sam Simpson and (Bryan Station’s) Frank Parks, who have hosted the camp in years past, will have their boys there.

“I’m grateful of my Kentucky relationships and I look forward to working with these great men to see how we can better serve the youth. I really want this to be a community event and staple in Lexington. We have had great sponsors in the past and rely on generous donations in order to make this camp completely free. For more information on Heart Power and the C.H.A.M.P. Camp or general suggestions, visit www.heartpowerinc.org.”

Jacob and Allison Tamme photo submitted

Jacob and Allison Tamme photo submitted

By LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has been in the NFL for six years, and will be playing in his second Super Bowl Sunday when his Denver Broncos take on Seattle in New York. Tamme, 28, was a fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in the 2008 after his record-setting career at Kentucky. He has 164 career catches for 1,594 yards and eight score. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass and had another 23-yard reception in last week’s AFC title game win over New England to send him back to the Super Bowl where he played for Indianapolis when the Colts lost to New Orleans.

Statewide media members have covered/watched Tamme’s high school, college and NFL career. Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Mark Story, former WLEX-TV anchor Mary Jo Perino, Kentucky Sports Radio host Ryan Lemond, WLEX-TV sports anchor Alan Cutler, UK Radio Network play-by-play voice Tom Leach and WLAP Sunday Morning Sports Talk host Mark Buerger shared their insights on Tamme.

Question: Will Tamme get a Super Bowl championship ring this time?

Story: “Would sure be cool for the state if the answer is yes.”

Perino: “That’s a tough call. This is a great Super Bowl matchup there’s no doubt. Jacob deserves to wear that ring and Manning is the QB you want on your side, but I think this game might be a little too close to call. I do hope that Jacob is on the winning end of it though.”

Cutler: “I hope so. All four of the UK guys, I include Champ Kelly, are terrific. Plus, one of my all time favorite interviews was with John Elway. I was in Pittsburgh. Day before the game. Back in the 1980′s. We had the interview scheduled for 15 minutes on radio. I had him laughing, and didn’t talk about the game. When I thanked him for his time he said  ‘We’re done?’ He asked to stay on. He was on for 45 minutes and thanked us. That never happens. So another reason to root for Denver.”

Lemond: “The Denver Broncos just seem to be a team of destiny this year. All of the stars have aligned for Peyton Manning and the Broncos to win it. For Jacob Tamme, third time is the charm.He gets it, and joins a very exclusive group of former Cats who have actually won a Super Bowl ring. Only Jared Lorenzen and Marty Moore come to mind in recent history. Good luck big fella. Make us all proud.”
Leach: “ Yes.   see Peyton Manning as being very comfortable, having gotten past the Tom Brady/New England storyline and I think he’ll have another one of his best games — hopefully connecting with Jacob on another TD pass.”

Buerger: “I really hope so. It’s always hard for me to cheer for other teams, but I will be 100 percent Team Broncos Sunday.”

Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has been in the NFL for six years, and will be playing in his second Super Bowl Sunday when his Denver Broncos take on Seattle in New York. Tamme, 28, was a fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in the 2008 after his record-setting career at Kentucky. He has 164 career catches for 1,594 yards and eight score. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass and had another 23-yard reception in last week’s AFC title game win over New England to send him back to the Super Bowl where he played for Indianapolis when the Colts lost to New Orleans.

Statewide media members have covered/watched Tamme’s high school, college and NFL career. Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Mark Story, former WLEX-TV anchor Mary Jo Perino, Kentucky Sports Radio host Ryan Lemond, WLEX-TV sports anchor Alan Cutler, UK Radio Network play-by-play voice Tom Leach and WLAP Sunday Morning Sports Talk host Mark Buerger shared their insights on Tamme.

Question: What kind of legacy do you think Tamme will eventually leave behind when his playing career ends?

Story: “How many people from the state of Kentucky have played in two Super Bowls? As legacies go, that is pretty strong.”

Perino: “Jacob’s legacy, I believe, will be first and foremost that of a great teammate. Peyton manning doesn’t pick duds, and he sees what we all know to be true about Jacob. He will be remembered as a leader, a guy who will do anything asked of him on the field, and someone who used his position in the NFL to help others. He is one of the most selfless, caring people I have ever met.
Cutler: “The perfect team player.”

Lemond: “I think he has become the perfect ambassador for UK and central Kentucky, meaning he is not only a great football player, he is probably a better person. He leads his life the right way. He promotes his Christianity. He is who we wish all of our sons could grow up to be.  He is the guy we wish our daughters would date. He is the guy that everyone can be proud of whether you’re a Boyle County Rebel or a Danville Admiral or a Kentucky Wildcat or a Louisville Cardinal. He has represented this state well, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Leach: “You look at Jacob’s career and you see him being on teams that won a lot of games, so his legacy is one of consistent success and production that his teams could count on.”

Buerger: “I think he’ll be remembered as a good guy and a terrific player who was in the perfect place for his skill set.”

Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game against the New England Patriots in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game against the New England Patriots in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Boyle County native Jacob Tamme has been in the NFL for six years, and will be playing in his second Super Bowl Sunday when his Denver Broncos take on Seattle in New York. Tamme, 28, was a fourth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in the 2008 after his record-setting career at Kentucky. He has 164 career catches for 1,594 yards and eight score. He caught a 1-yard touchdown pass and had another 23-yard reception in last week’s AFC title game win over New England to send him back to the Super Bowl where he played for Indianapolis when the Colts lost to New Orleans.

Statewide media members have covered/watched Tamme’s high school, college and NFL career. Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Mark Story, former WLEX-TV anchor Mary Jo Perino, Kentucky Sports Radio host Ryan Lemond, WLEX-TV sports anchor Alan Cutler, UK Radio Network play-by-play voice Tom Leach and WLAP Sunday Morning Sports Talk host Mark Buerger shared their insights on Tamme.

Question: Did you ever envision him having the type of NFL career he’s had?

Story: “Unless you are a star, so much about surviving in the NFL (or NBA) is ‘fit.’ Jacob was lucky to be drafted by a team (Indianapolis) whose scheme he fit perfectly. When Jacob got a chance (through Dallas Clark’s injury), he was prepared and took advantage of it in a big way. When Peyton Manning headed west, Jacob had earned his confidence and the QB wanted him in Denver, too.”

Perino: “I did and I didn’t. I have always known Jacob had what it takes, but it’s so hard to predict what a player will do at the next level, and so much of it is about what scheme you end up playing in. Jacob got lucky in some respects to have landed where he did, but luck is only what you make of it if you’re prepared for the situation. I never had any doubt Jacob would be ready and work hard.

Cutler: “Yes I did. And I think he would have put up some impressive numbers if he was a starter. He knows how to find holes in a zone which is big and doesn’t get talked about enough.”

Lemond: “To be honest, no. And if anyone tries to tell you that they knew from back in his days as a Boyle County Rebel that he would have this type of NFL career, they are not being truthful. He was a great high school player. We named him the LEX18 Sportszone player of the year, but this guy almost didn’t get to play at Kentucky. Without the coaching change and Mitch Barnhart getting involved in between the coaches, Tamme may have never played at Kentucky. And keep in mind, he came to UK as a receiver. Only a change within offensive coordinators moved him to tight end. The starts lined up for him, and took full advantage.”

Leach: “Can’t say I envisioned it but Jacob is a guy that needed to get with the right team, one that relied on tight ends more for pass-catching than blocking/size, so once he went to the Colts (and later Denver), it was not surprising to see him do well in those situations.”
Buerger: “Honestly, no. I worried that he’d be sort of a tweener. Not big enough for a traditional tight end and not fast enough to play receiver. His hard work and changes in the way offenses use tight ends have really benefited him.”

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For IPhones/IPads, and new for Android devices, the Catalist app by Larry Vaught is the best way to keep up with UK basketball. It's free!

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