Ed McCaffrey brings out SB champs for Dare to Play camp; Shaq Barrett injury update

Ed McCaffrey brings out SB champs for Dare to Play camp; Shaq Barrett injury update

Ed McCaffrey brought out the bling.

For his eighth annual Dare to Play camp with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation on Saturday, the former receiver and owner three Super Bowl rings, recruited some former and current Broncos to serve as coaches.

As he always does.

There was Brandon Stokley, a champ with both the Ravens (XXXV) and Colts (XLI). And there were Tyler Polumbus, the offensive tackle turned color commentator; Todd Davis, the Broncos’ current starting inside linebacker; and Shaquil Barrett, their recovering outside linebacker — all owners of outsized Super Bowl 50 rings.

Dare to Play camp
Nicki Jhabvala, The Denver Post

From left: former Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley, Davis, former receiver Ed McCaffrey, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett and former tackle Tyler Polumbus.

Five coaches, six Super Bowls, eight total rings, one of which adorned the index finger of Davis.

But on this day, none of them were the stars.

Forty players and 35 cheerleaders — some children, some adults — with Down syndrome claimed the spotlight as their fans and family members filled the bleachers at Valor Christian High for a scrimmage to raise awareness and funds for Down syndrome research and care.

Joining the participants were 40 “pals” from Valor Christian — one per player — as well as some Denver Broncos cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot, who weaved his way on and off the field and occasionally hoisted a player on his shoulders following a score.

“It means a lot, because it really gets a broader community involved with us. Even if most of the people in the stands are family members, there are people who are interested in seeing football players,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, the co-founder, president and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “And in today’s world, the world of social media and electronic communication, it may be that millions of people learn about it. If it takes that celebrity name for them to read a paragraph on how medically underfunded our kids and adults are, that’s great.”

Each year, the Dare to Play Football Camp and Dare to Cheer Game Day brings out around 500 fans.

This year was no different.

“It’s a great cause and to be here to make an impact in these people’s’ lives — kids and adults — and to come out here and talk to them and try to coach them through the game, give them a little pep talk, it’s amazing to see the difference we can make in people’s lives and to help them,” Barrett said while hobbling around the field with a pair of crutches.

Barrett injured his right hip while training on his own during the offseason, but said he doesn’t have pain and doesn’t anticipate needing the aid of crutches for much longer.

“I’m doing good,” he said. “I have a couple more weeks left on crutches and once that’s over, I should be able to start doing some more stuff to get myself ready (to return), probably about halfway through camp. I can’t wait to be back on the field.”

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