Ronnie Hillman, a former running back and Super Bowl 50 champion, passed away, and the Broncos are saddened by her passing.
Ronnie Hillman, a former Broncos running back, passed away from cancer, according to his family.
He had a 31-year-old age.
Hillman, a key member of Denver’s 2013 and 2015 AFC Championship teams and the team that won Super Bowl 50, was selected by the Broncos in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Hillman was the Broncos’ top rusher during that 2015 championship season because of his quickness and speed, which produced explosive plays.
The untimely passing of former Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman has deeply saddened us, according to a statement from the team. Ronnie was a key player in the franchise’s winningest four-year history. He played on two Super Bowl teams and was the Broncos’ rushing champion during the season. Ronnie was drafted by the Broncos in 2012 and quickly developed into a dynamic player and well-liked teammate. She was soft-spoken, had an inviting smile, and exuded quiet intensity. Our organization, which sends its sincere condolences and sympathies to the Hillman family during this trying time, will hold Ronnie in high regard.
Long Beach, California native Hillman developed into a promising football prospect and attributed much of his life’s development to the game. As a professional player later, Hillman claimed that his participation in the youth football league of rapper Snoop Dogg was significant for him.
Hillman, a junior in high school, guided La Habra to its first undefeated season and the Southeast Division championship game of the California Interscholastic Federation-Souther Section. Hillman was subsequently named the Southeast Division’s All-CIF Southern Section offensive player of the year. La Habra moved to the Southwest Division the following year, where he won a championship for the second consecutive year. Hillman also won offensive player of the year honors.
Hillman was a revelation for San Diego State in college. Hillman totaled 38 total touchdowns and 3,243 rushing yards in each of his two seasons, totaling at least 1,500 yards and 17 touchdown runs.
The talent of Hillman was immediately apparent to the Broncos. Hillman averaged more than 180 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Colorado Springs’ cadets in two games against the Air Force Academy.
Hillman had such a successful collegiate career that he had to decide whether or not to join the NFL at the young age of one.
The Broncos traded up in the third round to secure Hillman’s rights when the draft came around. Hillman jumped at the chance to join a team that had high expectations after the Broncos recently acquired free agent Peyton Manning.
Hillman primarily played as a backup option for McGahee and Knowshon Moreno during his first season. Hillman’s total of 103 yards from scrimmage on 25 touches against the Ravens in the playoffs demonstrated his workhouse potential.
Hillman continued to play as a reserve in 2013, supporting Moreno and 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball as the Broncos’ historic offense helped them win Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Broncos looked for a solution to running back in the years that followed, and in 2015 they discovered one that worked with Hillman and C. J. Anderson sharing the load. Hillman, a traditional speedster, and Anderson, an easy-to-handle bowling ball, created fits for defenses with their lightning-and-thuzz tandem.
Hillman gave Denver memorable plays that were crucial to Denver’s postseason hopes that year as Denver gritted out close victories. His 23-yard score in Week 17 put the Broncos on top to maintain their home-field advantage through the playoffs as the AFC’s top seed. His 72 yard touchdown against the Vikings during Week 4 was the fourth-longest rushing touchdown in NFL history. For his performance in the final week of the regular season, Hillman was named AFC Offensive Player of Week.
Hillman ran the ball 207 times for 863 yards and seven touchdowns in 10 starts, making him Denver’s top rusher overall. With Brock Osweiler starting seven games and Peyton Manning battling a foot injury, Denver’s offense struggled to find consistency. Hillman was crucial to the Broncos’ outlook going into the postseason.
Hillman reveled in the moment that would be his career’s pinnacle success as the Broncos advanced to Super Bowl 50.
When asked what the most interesting part of his career had been a week prior to the game, Hillman replied, “Just being able to make it here, honestly.” As a young child, you dreamed of playing in the NFL.
Hillman joined the Vikings in September 2016 after the 2015 campaign, where he spent the first half of the season in Minnesota before joining the Chargers for the 2016 season’s final stretch. With 494 carries, 1, 976 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six 100-yard rushing games, Hillman completed his career.