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Utah football 2014: Zane Beadles makes largest player donation in Utes history

Denver Broncos offensive tackle Zane Beadles.
Denver Broncos offensive tackle Zane Beadles.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

He became a star after appearing on Ellen as a dance machine during Super Bowl week. Then he made headlines by turning down an offer to play with the Super Bowl runners up Denver Broncos this season--opting to sign a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth over $30 million, $13 mil of which is guaranteed.

If you watched Ellen--or followed the Utah Utes football program or the Broncos the for the past 10 years--you know Zane Beadles. The 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pound behemoth has already played five years in the NFL, a league that on average spits out most players between two to four years.

But, Beadles will now be known for something completely different--something more charitable in nature with the power to change lives for many years to come. When Beadles' career has long since passed--and his grand kids, if he has any, are being told of days gone by--his donation of $750,000 to the Utes football program, announced on Monday, July 28 by the school, will be something people remember.

"This is something I've known I wanted to do ever since I left school," Beadles said in a press release. "The University of Utah was such a great place for me. I don't think I'd be where I am today without the University of Utah. I am excited to pledge this money to the U. and give back to the place that helped shape me into the man I am today. I'd like to thank all of the professors, coaches and support staff at the University of Utah. It was a great four and a half years of my life and I'll always be a Ute!"

Beadles was with the Utes as he was with the Broncos, a workhorse fortunate enough to escape serious injuries during his college and pro careers--while becoming a fan favorite due to his infectious, playful personality and his game-changing ability as an all-conference and an All-American and eventually, a Pro Bowl offensive tackle who just happened to make it to the Super Bowl.

Of the $750,000 that Beadles will donate to the program, $500,000 will go to the Zane Beadles Sports Medicine Center and $250,000 to the Zane Beadles Offensive Line Scholarship. It is the largest amount any former Utah Utes player has ever donated.

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