When you’re a world-class athlete and a champion, the day will come when you simply can’t compete at the same level you once could, but you’re never really ready to hang up the cleats; it just becomes impossible to put them on.

So when the Denver Broncos’ most-legendary receiving corps — Ed McCaffrey, Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe — got called out by the fans to make a return to the field for the Broncos’ playoff run, their ears definitely perked up.

It all started with Eddie Mac’s celebratory treat following the Broncos’ win on Sunday.

And knowing the Broncos are desperate for a stud tight end, this fan wondered if No. 87 could get his “Good Feet” back in the slot. He deferred to his Hall of Fame teammate, Shannon Sharpe.

Rod Smith then chimed in, saying he’d be happy to cover for his former teammates up in the booth if they wanted to try their hand on the field.

But, as the two admitted, the most they’d be able to do on a football field is play the role of a really, really slow possession receiver.

And through all this, Sharpe remained silent.

Finally, another fan called out Sharpe for being out of shape, which caused quite the reaction from McCaffrey and Smith.

Apparently, that was enough for Sharpe to chime in, as he started talking about fruits and shapes … or something.

He then gave the real reason why he won’t “lace em’ up” one more time.

None of these guys are ever getting back out of the field, but Broncos Country should just be happy that the Broncos greats have remained such a big part of the franchise.

And if Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Owen Daniels can try to embody the trio that came before them, maybe they’ll be able to lead Denver to a championship, too.