• Blue Springs graduate, Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd returns home Sunday

  • Brandon Lloyd will never forget the first time he played football at Arrowhead Stadium.

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  • Brandon Lloyd will never forget the first time he played football at Arrowhead Stadium.
    “I was in seventh grade and my Pop Warner team played in the Super Bowl, and it was at Arrowhead,” said Lloyd, who went on to become an all-state wide receiver and state champion high jumper at Blue Springs High School.
    The next time he played at Arrowhead Stadium, he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers, an NFL team that selected him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft.
    “That was just an exhibition game, so it didn’t really have that much of an impact,” said Lloyd, who is enjoying a breakout year with the Denver Broncos.
    After spending time with the 49ers and Chicago Bears, he signed last season with Denver. He was able to crack the starting lineup when receivers Brandon Marshall, Brandon Stokely and Eddie Royal went down with injuries.
    Lloyd didn’t even dress when the Broncos played at Arrowhead last season, but this year, he undressed the Chiefs secondary in Week 10, catching six passes for 90 yards and two scores in a 49-29 Broncos rout.
    Lloyd leads the NFL with 1,122 yards and is the favorite target of quarterback Kyle Orton, who was a member of the Bears when Lloyd was on the Windy City NFL team.
    “I have a lot of confidence in Lloyd and he proves me right,” Orton said. “He makes great plays, makes spectacular catches. I’m certainly not trying to turn the football over, by any means, but any time we feel like we have a good chance of completing the pass and the risk of a turnover is low, then yeah – we’re going to throw it up to him.”
    When asked if he and Orton have a sixth sense, Lloyd chuckled.
    “I wouldn’t call it a sixth sense, more like a favorite t-shirt,” Lloyd said. “You wear it, and it’s comfortable. But it’s okay to wear something else – jeans, a dress shirt, flip flops, we just feel comfortable working together out there.”
    The only thing that’s tempering Lloyd’s brilliance this season is the simple fact that the Broncos have lost two in a row since that big home win over Kansas City and come to Arrowhead this Sunday with a 3-8 record.
    “It’s been a good season for me individually, but it’s tough when the team is losing,” Lloyd said. “You ask about balancing a good individual season with a season where your team is struggling to win and it’s not easy.
    “I know if I go out and have a big game, it’s going to give the team a chance to win. And right now, that’s all I care about. The yards, the touchdowns – I want to keep having success because it gives us a better chance to win, and winning is what it’s all about.”
    Page 2 of 2 - When Lloyd burst upon the NFL scene back in 2003, he was known for making the spectacular reception.
    He was featured in a full-page photo spread Sports Illustrated making a jaw-dropping one-handed reception. The sky seemed the limit for the young man who achieved great success at the University of Illinois, but other than the occasional you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it catch, not much else went his way.
    But he never gave up on himself or his career.
    Being reunited with Orton in Denver has helped him achieve the type of statistics that are equated with the premier receivers in the history of the league.
    If the ball is thrown in his direction, he’s going to snare it and make something good happen.
    “I think each situation in the game is different – where you’re at on the field, where you’re at on the scoreboard – just where you’re at in the game,” Orton said, when asked about big-play possibilities when the ball is thrown to Lloyd. “You try to take the shots when it’s the right point in the game and you try not to take those when ball security is a little bit more of a factor.”
    Nothing would thrill Lloyd more than helping the Broncos end their two-game skid this Sunday in his own back yard.
    “I’m going to have some family and friends at the game,” Lloyd said, “but I didn’t have to worry about buying a bunch of tickets. They took care of all of that.
    “I was lucky this past summer because I got to spend a lot of time at home. I keep in touch with friends back in Blue Springs and my mom and dad keep me updated on the Wildcats.
    “I was sorry they lost to Rockhurst in the playoffs, but I know they had a great season and I am so proud to have been a part of that football program. That was a special time in my life, a time I’ll never forget.”
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