The Colorado Springs Gazette final


Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II’s Pro Bowl hopes are minimal after a slow start to season.


Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II got the news Friday he had been named the NFL Players Association’s Community MVP for Week 14. The news earlier in the week wasn’t as good.

The NFL announced Wednesday the initial voting results from fans for the Pro Bowl Games. Surtain, a firstteam All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection last season, wasn’t among the top 10 vote-getters.

“It doesn’t really matter to me that much,’’ Surtain told The Denver Gazette. “I mean, obviously Pro Bowl is a big accomplishment but you look toward bigger and better (things). I mean, whatever it is, stuff happens. (The fans) got their favorites and stuff like that. So I don’t get too much involved toward that. I just got to continue to let my play do the talking.”

Surtain always has been a modest sort, and he admitted he got off to a slow start this season. But some of his teammates have been outspoken about the Surtain snub to start the voting.

“It’s crazy,’’ said Denver nickel back J’Quan McMillian. “He’s been a lockdown corner the whole season. He’s definitely been doing his job with us and limiting the opponent’s top receiver.”

Cornerbacks in the top 10 in the initial fan voting were, in order, DaRon Bland of Dallas, Jalen Ramsey of Miami, Paulson Adebo of New Orleans, Cam Taylor-Britt of Cincinnati, Rasul Douglas of Buffalo, Darius Slay of Philadelphia, Charvarius Ward of San Francisco, Stephon Gilmore of Dallas, L’Jarius Sneed of Kansas City and Kenny Moore II of Indianapolis.

“I think a lot of (quarterbacks) shy away from him, but (Surtain is) definitely in the top two to me,’’ said Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis. “I think the fans know about him but they probably like the flashy players. He’s not really flashy.”

It’s only the first round of fan voting and fans account for just one-third of the final balloting for the Pro Bowl Games that culminate Feb. 4 in Orlando, Fla. Fan balloting concludes Dec. 25 and voting from players and coaches, whose totals count one-third apiece, will be conducted Dec. 29.

“They definitely know more,’’ Surtain said about the players and coaches. “But you give fans a platform to vote. You just got to let them vote.”

Entering Denver’s game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium, Surtain is rated by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s No. 23 cornerback out of 119. Among the top 10 cornerbacks in the fan voting, six are rated ahead of Surtain in Bland (No. 1), Abedo (3), Douglas (4), Ward (13) and Moore (14) and four behind him in Gilmore (31), Slay (57), Taylor-Britt (78) and Sneed (82).

Surtain admits his play wasn’t as good as he would have liked when the Broncos began the season 1-5, including an ugly 70-20 loss at Miami on Sept. 24. But with the Broncos having won five of their past six games, the third-year pro has stepped it up.

“Honestly, early in the year I think I wasn’t living up to my standard, me personally,’’ said Surtain, who will challenge Chargers star receiver Keenan Allen on Sunday. “But I think these past couple of weeks, I’ve been better and better (with more) consistency. There’s some things I can still fix, a lot more improvement I could say I could do. I could say definitely early on in the year it wasn’t my best, but now I’ve been doing better.”

Surtain was asked what he has improved upon as the season has progressed.

“Just technique, locking in on the details, on the little things,’’ Surtain said. “And just focusing on my keys.”

As for the news Friday that Surtain had been named the NFPA’s most recent Community MVP, that certainly excited him.

Through his foundation, Surtain recently gave a pair of grants totaling $100,000 to George Washington High School and Manual High School to fund the construction of rooms devoted to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. For winning the honor, the NFLPA will award $10,000 to Surtain’s foundation or the charity of his choice.

“It’s always great to be involved in the community,’’ Surtain said. “I’m an advocate towards giving back and to be honored in such a regard means a lot.”

McMillian figures another honor soon will be coming Surtain’s way. He expects Surtain to be back in the Pro Bowl after all the votes are counted from fans, coaches and players.

“It’s not the final vote, so I know for sure he’s going to make his mark,’’ McMillian said.

“He’s going to keep working and keep locking down receivers.”





The Gazette, Colorado Springs