Very few figures have even come close to equaling the impact Steve ‘Greek’ Antonopulos has had on the Denver Broncos over his 45 year career — potentially the longest relationship between a single team and trainer in NFL history.
9News’ Mike Klis reported on Monday that Antonopulos would be retiring before the start of the 2021 NFL season.
Just to put in perspective how great his impact has been, Antonopolus was hired by the Broncos in 1976, before John Elway’s sophmore year of high school. He became the team’s head trainer in 1979, which was Elway’s freshman year and came a half-decade before Pat Bowlen purchased the team.
“Steve Antonopulos is what the Denver Broncos are all about,” John Elway said in a statement released by the team. “In 45 years and the amount of players that he’s helped and cured and got healthy and counseled — including me in all those instances — for 45 years, he has been the Broncos. We were very, very lucky as the Broncos to be able to have a guy like Steve Antonopulos. He cared about the Broncos and it was such a priority for him. The only guy to be involved in all eight of the Super Bowls.
“He’s a guy that has been a mainstay for the Broncos and not only a great trainer when I played, but it was great working with him when I was the GM and is also a great friend. We are all blessed in Broncos Country to be able to say Steve Antonopulos was our trainer for 45 years.”
According to the Broncos, Antonopulos treated over 1,500 different Broncos players (if you include training camp rosters), 23 of the team’s 29 members of the team’s Ring of Fame, and 10 different members of the Hall of Fame.
If any NFL trainer ever was to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Antonopulos would likely be the guy.
“He is the epitome of good people, and like I said, he knew how to bring out the most in people,” Jim Keller, who was one of Antonopulos’ assistant trainers for over a decade, said. “Obviously an injury is a trying time for a professional athlete. They’re scared, they don’t know their future, and his demeanor, his foresight, his ability to work with the player mentally and physically. So I’ve talked to many of the Hall of Famers and many of the old players, and they just can’t say enough good things about how they knew that Greek had their back and Greek was looking out for their best interest.”
It’s a void that will be impossible for the Broncos to fill.