Former Air Force defensive lineman Ben Garland is still on the Denver Broncos’ roster, but unlike last year, he didn’t use his leave time to participate in training camp and preseason games before going on the military/reserve list for the regular season.
Garland said he was planning on attending camp with the Broncos, and worked “every possible pathway” to make it, but he remained at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
“The Air Force needs come first and in the best interest of the Air Force it was determined that I should stay at Scott AFB and help prepare for the combined unit inspection,” Garland said in a text message. “I was more than happy to do my duty and lead my team through the inspection.”
Garland proudly pointed out the wing received an “excellent” for the inspection.
Garland said he is maintaining a rigorous training regiment seven days a week, and wants to make the Broncos for the 2012 season. Next year, Garland will be eligible to move the final three years of his military commitment to a six-year reserve duty, because he has a signed pro sports contract.
Garland refused to speculate if the NFL lockout, which lasted well into summer, cost him a chance to be at training camp this year. Losing out on a training camp, especially with a new coaching staff, isn’t the best news in Garland’s quest to make the Broncos next season, but he did not complain about that.
“I know it sets me back,” Garland said. “I also know it’s worth it. I lose football experience but I get to serve my country, build lifelong friendships and experience things that only a select few will ever get to experience.”