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At first, Plummer, who'd been an All-Pro only a season earlier, had been angry about the demotion.

Who in his right mind would walk away from such a job?

Who requests a wake-up call from the American Dream? It is a fall weekend in 2010, and in a few minutes he'll be playing a pro-am handball match.

'Screw it,' thought Plummer, 'I'm going to win this thing.' It was the last game of the 2006 season, against the lowly 49ers, and he had been summoned from the Broncos' sideline.

Only a month earlier, coach Mike Shanahan had benched Plummer, a 10-year veteran, in favor of a strong-armed but immature rookie, Jay Cutler. One season removed from the AFC Championship Game, Denver was on the verge of missing the playoffs.

From his rumpled blue sports bag he pulls out a Ziploc bag full of white pellets, tosses two into his mouth and takes a swig of beer from a red plastic cup. Watching him, lean and agile and powerful at 6'2" and about 195 pounds, it's hard not to conclude that, at 35, Jake Plummer could still be a damn good NFL quarterback.

"I know it looks nasty," he says of the spearmint-gum-and-Bud-Light combo, "but it really wakes me up." Properly jazzed, Plummer hops onto the court and engages in a spirited warmup, leaping and raising his knees high and smacking his hands together. In an hour Plummer will leave the court drenched in sweat and on his third T-shirt, grinning like a man at his own wedding and high-fiving his teammate.

Still, in the wake of another Super Bowl, people might think about Plummer on occasion and wonder, ‘What the hell was he thinking?

’ After all, when asked to name their dream job, American men overwhelmingly choose pro athlete over movie star or president of the United States.

Shanahan put Cutler back in, but not before trying to chastise Plummer, who walked past, ignoring his coach.

Quarterbacks coach Pat Mc Pherson then walked over.

​ A few months later he retired, having achieved a 39–15 regular-season record as the Broncos' starter.