Bill Bowlen

AFC Notes: Bowlen, Broncos, Cabinda, Raiders, Anderson, Jets

Recently we broke down the latest drama in the Bowlen family regarding ownership of the Broncos. Since then, even more information has come pouring in with a pair of new reports. Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic went through the entire 21-page lawsuit filed by owner Pat Bowlen‘s brother Bill, and broke down all of the complaints. Essentially, Bill is challenging the legitimacy of the trust that has been running the Broncos, by claiming the trust was formed after Pat had already lost his ability to act as his own attorney. Jhabvala writes that the filing “may only be [the] start of [a] messy battle for control” of the team.

Separately, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports that Bill’s legal team is hoping to settle the dispute outside of the court system. Bill’s lawyers said their hope is to have “discussions with the trustees and their attorneys” and avoid a legal resolution. It’s unclear what their endgame is, as they don’t likely have much legal standing due to Bill selling his remaining shares in the team back in 2002. Bill is reportedly working with one of Pat’s daughters, Beth Bowlen Wallace, in their quest to take ownership over. There should be even more details in the coming days.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Former Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda didn’t make the Raiders out of training camp, but the team remained high on him. They signed him to the practice squad, and now Oakland apparently counting on him to play a major role in their defense moving forward, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic. Tafur writes that “all indications” are Cabinda is going to play a heavy amount of snaps this weekend against the Colts. The Raiders cut veteran Derrick Johnson recently, and Tafur writes they did so in large part because they believe in Cabinda.
  • Robby Anderson has started to find a groove recently and form a connection with Sam Darnold, but the Jets receiver looks like he’ll be sidelined this week against the Bears. Anderson is dealing with an ankle sprain, and has been downgraded to doubtful for the game. With Quincy Enunwa, also out, the Jets’ receiving corp will be very thin and New York will likely have to lean heavily on recent free-agent signee Rishard Matthews.
  • In case you missed it, the Texans worked out receiver Brice Butler earlier today in the wake of Will Fuller‘s ACL tear.

Latest On Broncos Ownership Situation

The ownership of the Broncos has been a hotly contested issue for years now, and it appears the fighting between various members of the Bowlen family might finally be reaching a boiling point. Owner Pat Bowlen has been unable to manage the team for a while now as he suffers from Alzheimer’s, and now Pat’s younger brother Bill Bowlen is suing the trust in charge of the team, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post.

The team had been placed into the trust, led by Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, which has been taking a very slow years-long approach to crowning a new controlling owner, in July of 2014. The battle within the family had been playing out mostly behind the scenes until recently, when it spilled out into the press. Just last week Bowlen’s 28-year-old daughter, Brittany Bowlen, confirmed her long-rumored desire to eventually take over the team. Some league executives and members of the Broncos organization are reportedly most bullish on her prospects as a future owner.

A different one of Bowlen’s daughters Beth Bowlen Wallace, 47, came out a few months ago and criticized Ellis for dragging his feet and said she wanted control of the team. Ellis responded by saying “we have determined that she is not capable or qualified at this time” in regard to Beth. Now Bill is suing the trust, asking the court to remove Ellis and the other members of the trust “due to their failure to uphold Pat Bowlen’s wishes and act in the best interest of Pat Bowlen, his family and the Broncos”, according to O’Halloran.

Troy Renck of Denver 7 tweets “Bill Bowlen has not had stake in Broncos for years” after selling his shares to Pat back in 2002 and writes that he doesn’t “see how he would have any enforceable right in this matter.” Renck also tweeted out the official response from the trust, which states that Bill is working with the same lawyers as Beth Bowlen Wallace. It appears as if Beth and Bill are working together to try and acquire control of the team before it is handed over to Brittany, who seems to be the most likely and preferred successor at this point.

It’s a messy situation, and one that has had a ripple effect in the front office. It’s thrown the team into limbo, and has contributed greatly to the job security of GM John Elway, as no one really has the authority to fire him currently. We should know more about the lawsuit soon, and it will be a very interesting story to watch play out.