No, technically the Denver Broncos (3-8) have not yet been eliminated from the NFL playoff picture. That distinction belongs to the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers.
But straddling a seven-game slide and a nearly impossible uphill battle to make the postseason, Mark Schlereth said on Thursday there’s only one thing the Broncos players can play for: Each other.
“I understand this is a tough season. It always hurts when you’re not in it, when you’re out of it, when you’re not going to make the playoffs. It’s always tough,” the “Schlereth & Evans” host said. “But you’ve got to be a professional.”
Schlereth said it’s imperative for the squad to come together as “we” instead of “me,” cautioning that players do not want to become what he calls “independent contractors.”
“When you become an independent contractor and you worry about your job and only your job, you’re now what ends up happening to you? You stink,” Schlereth said. “Because you’re not playing for one another. So, take control of this team.”
It’s “not fair” and the NFL is a cold and often ruthless business, Schlereth said, but you can’t treat yourself and your teammates in the same way.
“If you play like it’s a business, if you play like you’re not playing for something bigger than you, if it doesn’t become we and it stays me, you’ll never be good,” Schlereth said.
Denver travels to Miami on Sunday to take on the Dolphins (4-7), who are themselves on a five-game slide after starting off the season 4-2.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.
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