PUEBLO — Pueblo, Colorado is known for plenty of things... it's steel, that famous green chile, and their medal of honor recipients.
But Pueblo also offers a unique path to the NFL as three former CSU Pueblo football players, coached by Thundwolves head coach John Wristen, are playing this weekend in the NFL playoffs.
"Those guys did it," explained Wristen. "They went out and worked and created those opportunities. They were in the right spot, at the right time, because of their attitude and effort and I think that is awesome."
What is even more awesome is that this weekend, Pack football have three players playing in the NFL Divisional playoff weekend in the Rams' Morgan Fox, the Chiefs' Mike Pennel, and the Bucs' Ryan Jensen.
"Those guys are playing at a high-level playing in the playoffs," added Wristen. "I just wish the best for them and yeah it is really neat."
All three of their paths to the league haven't been easy, as both Jensen & Fox admitted this week they still feel like they have a lot to prove.
"Not getting a DI look, going to a Division II school like CSU Pueblo," said Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen, who played for the Thunderwolves from 2009-2012. "For me, it is always that chip on my shoulder to improve and prove a lot of people wrong."
"It is fun being the underdog guy," added Rams defense end Morgan Fox, who played for Thunderwolves after Jensen from 2012-2015. "People do not know the school you went to half the time. They mix up the mascot, they mix up the name on purpose to rib at you a little bit. But it is definitely fun when you start making plays and people start recognizing the talent that comes out of these and being a small school guy that makes big time plays."
So no matter the outcome to any of the games this weekend, one thing is for sure: champions come in many shapes, sizes - and in this case - places like Pueblo, Colorado.
"I will never forget how special this business is and how fortunate I am to be apart of it, especially coming from Pueblo and the hard work we had to put in there and kind of bleed over into this," revealed Fox. "I can always look back at my time in Pueblo and remember where it started and where I am at now."
Both Jensen & Pennell will play playing in the AFC & NFC championships next week, while Fox saw his season come to a close with the Rams loss to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.