Falcons' Garland signs with Denver Broncos

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Air Force senior defensive lineman Ben Garland has signed a professional contract with the Denver Broncos, according to an announcement April 26 from the National Football League team.

Garland is required by Department of Defense policy to serve at least 24 months active duty before applying for an early release. If granted, his remaining three years of active duty will be served in the Reserve for a period of six years.

A native of Grand Junction, Colo., Garland was a second-team all-Mountain West Conference performer in 2009. He helped lead the Falcons to their third straight Armed Forces Bowl where they defeated No. 25 Houston, 47-20 to finish the season 8-5 overall. Garland led the team with 4.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss and ranked among the league leaders in each category. He recorded a season-best eight tackles vs. TCU and blocked field goals vs. New Mexico and BYU.

"Ben Garland has been an outstanding cadet at the Air Force Academy," head coach Troy Calhoun said. "We know Ben, like so many young men who were terrific college football players, also holds a dream to one day play in the National Football League. We completely back Ben's priorities of earning his commission as an Academy graduate in five weeks, serving as a fine officer in the world's best Air Force, and in the future, pursuing a possible opportunity to play in NFL regular season and playoff games."