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NFL: Denver Broncos great Austin Gonsoulin on mend after heart attack
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For just a moment, former Denver Broncos standout Austin "Goose" Gonsoulin didn't think about the open-heart surgery he underwent a few weeks ago or the cancer that has spread through his body.

For a brief instant, the American Football League All Star almost felt like a safety again, transported back to a time when he used to make interceptions like this.

The 74-year-old Gonsoulin had just caught a flash across his television screen: Denver cornerback Chris Harris stepping in front of a pass and racing down the sideline for a 98-yard touchdown.

"I remember exactly what that feels like," said Gonsoulin, who's known around the Mile High City as an "Original Bronco" after being acquired in a trade before the team's first season in 1960. "Such a great feeling when you're in the open like that."

These days, Gonsoulin feels pretty good, even with all his health concerns.

Just last month, he had a heart attack that led to quadruple bypass surgery.

That was on top of this: Nearly a year ago he went in for an exam and there, all over the X-ray, was the return of his cancer. Only this time it appeared in his ribs, collar bone and shoulders. It was near his knees, back and hips. It showed up along his legs and arms, too.

"I lit up like a Christmas tree," he said.

"But I'm still here."

And enjoying the simple pleasures like watching his beloved Broncos.

"That Peyton Manning is pretty good, huh?" Gonsoulin said.

Around the league

49ers • San Francisco defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois has been preparing all week to start in place of All-Pro Justin Smith on the NFL's second-ranked defense.

Bears • Linebacker Brian Urlacher will miss his third straight game because of a hamstring injury on Sunday.

Browns • Mohamed Massaquoi, Jordan Cameron and Tashaun Gipson will not travel with Cleveland to Denver.

NFL notes • Denver star in good spirits after health scares.
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