ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, or in this case thousands of sprains, fractures, aches, pains, and perhaps even a bruised ego or two, then the Denver Broncos picked the most fitting way to honor longtime head trainer Steve Antonopulos this week. The team presented Antonopulos with a painting created by Gabe Richesson.
Richesson, a noted artist who has previously done paintings for Peyton Manning and Chris Harris Jr. and is Broncos strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson’s brother, was commissioned by the team to help honor Antonopulos -- affectionately called "Greek" by everyone in the organization. Antonopulos is in his 40th season with the team.
Here’s a look at the painting, as posted on Gabe Richesson’s Twitter account:
— Artist 2the Athletes (@Richesson) August 4, 2016
"Luke’s brother did a nice painting," coach Gary Kubiak said. "Forty years in the organization, and you go back, Greek’s accomplished and been a part of so many things. I had to take notes down there. I couldn't memorize them all."
Antonopulos joined the Broncos in 1976 when John Ralston was the head coach and Steve Ramsey was the quarterback. Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway and Kubiak were both Broncos players during Antonopulos’ tenure, as was offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
In all, Antonopulos has worked 858 games with the team, on four different continents and in seven different countries. And in the past 40 years, the Broncos have had 26 winning seasons, 22 playoff trips, won 15 AFC West titles, appeared in 10 AFC Championship Games, and played in eight Super Bowls, winning three.
Antonopulos has won numerous awards in his career, including the 2011 Fain-Cain Memorial Award given to the NFL trainer who displays exemplary performance as well as a long-term commitment to the NFL.
"He’s a friend of mine -- I worked under as a player, now I get to work with him," Kubiak said. "I love him. This organization thinks the world of him."