ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- After a career that spanned 45 years with the Denver Broncos, director of sports medicine Steve Antonopulos has retired.
Antonopulos, 72, whom most everyone with the team and in the league knows simply as "Greek," has been with the Broncos since 1976. Former Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who arrived to the Broncos as a rookie quarterback in 1983 and spent well over two decades with the franchise himself, has joked that Antonopulos was with the Broncos before the orange and blue in the uniforms.
Antonopulos, whose office was routinely owner Pat Bowlen's first stop each morning when Bowlen arrived to work, is the longest-tenured employee in the franchise's history and is the only employee to have been with the Broncos for each of the team's eight Super Bowl trips.
He was Bowlen's presenter when Bowlen was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.
"Steve has been an institution with the Broncos for the last 45 years and became one of the most respected athletic training professionals in all of sports," Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement.
"No one cared more about the players than Greek. It didn't matter if they were a Hall of Famer or an undrafted rookie -- his standard never changed. He was a fixture on our sidelines for the greatest moments in team history, the first person running on the field to care for an injured player and the one who supported them through every step of their recovery."
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said following Monday's OTA practice: "45 years of service to one organization is unheard of in the NFL, and that speaks volumes to his competency and the value he brought to this organization over such a long period of time."
Fangio also added that "I have hard time believing that Greek is really retired. ... In my mind -- like I told him the other day -- I don't think he's retired.
"A great, great guy, as well as a great ambassador."
A Hugo, Colorado, native, Antonopulos began his career with the Broncos as an assistant trainer in 1976. He was the team's head trainer for 37 seasons and spent the past four seasons as the director of sports medicine. In all he was on the sideline for 941 games (preseason, regular season and postseason) and worked for 13 different head coaches.
There were 983 players who played at least one regular-season game for the Broncos in his tenure.