John Elway

Kyle Shanahan, John Elway Address Broncos’ HC Decision

Kyle Shanahan lost out to Vance Joseph when the Broncos chose a coach to replace Gary Kubiak in January. But Shanahan ended up in San Francisco, and the first-year HC said during the 49ers and Broncos’ joint practices he sensed he wouldn’t get the Denver job.

I just had this gut feeling that I wouldn’t,” Shanahan said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, of his chances at becoming the Broncos head coach. “I went into the interview, I really enjoyed it, meeting with those guys. I hadn’t seen them for a while. But yeah, I never felt like it. I felt after the interview I made it hard on them, but I always had a feeling that I wasn’t.”

Elway played for Mike Shanahan for most of his career, when Shanahan was an assistant or during the four years he coached Elway as Denver’s HC. While the Broncos GM passed on bringing Mike’s son into the fold, Elway said the then-Falcons OC “wasn’t far behind.”

His knowledge of the game is as good as there is in the league. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit,” Elway said. “I’m very happy with Vance, but Kyle wasn’t too far behind just because he has that knowledge. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to have a lot of success in this league.”

Due to the ties he had growing up in Denver, Kyle Shanahan ended up with a slight sense of relief he didn’t get the Broncos job. The younger Shanahan spent time in the Bay Area growing up as well, with Shanahan separating his Denver stays with a three-year run as OC in San Francisco, but most of Mike Shanahan’s NFL coaching years came in Colorado.

Always deep down, I think, I’d rather [be in] a different situation,” Shanahan said. “But I loved Denver. I loved growing up there. My family is from there. My wife’s family is from there. So it would be a hard thing to say no to when your family’s there and things like that. But by no means was that my situation of choice.”

Elway agreed one of his finalists receiving the job Joseph now has would have created potentially a more pressure-packed environment and expounded on why Shanahan viewed it as a lesser fit than his current position.

You are coming back to where you were raised and friends and family and everything that’s back there, all of a sudden you might have been walking into a pressure-cooker, especially with the situation that we’re in, having won the Super Bowl a couple years ago, so the expectation level was very high,” Elway said of the disparate natures of the job Joseph got and the rebuilding task Shanahan agreed to undertake. “So I can understand what his thinking was on whether he wanted that job or not because [of] having grown up there and such.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Bengals, Broncos

Contract extensions may be in the offing for Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin, writes Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Colbert’s contract will expire after next year’s draft, while Tomlin is still under wraps for two more seasons. That’s typically when the Steelers have worked to extend their head coaches in the past, observes Bouchette. They’ve had just three since 1969, the year of Chuck Noll‘s hiring. Bill Cowher also came before Tomlin, who has mimicked those two with a resoundingly successful run in Pittsburgh. The Tomlin-led club has made the playoffs seven times out of 10, including last year, and hasn’t finished with fewer than eight wins in a season. Overall, the Steelers have gone 103-57 with a Super Bowl victory and two AFC championships under Tomlin.

More from the AFC:

  • One of Tomlin’s AFC North rivals, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, seems less secure in his role. Lewis is in a contract year, but owner Mike Brown indicated Tuesday that he’ll go at his own pace on a potential extension for the coach, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. Still, Brown is satisfied with Lewis, who trails only the Patriots’ Bill Belichick in tenure among head coaches. “That should tell you how I feel about him. He has my respect, my regard, my confidence,” said Brown. “We’ve been through this before. Sometimes it was an additional prod. Heck, we all know how it went last year. We wish it had gone better, so maybe we’ll see a better year this year and things will sort out then.” The Bengals stumbled to a 6-9-1 mark in 2016, snapping a five-year playoff streak and giving them a 118-103-3 record during Lewis’ 14-season stint. Amazingly, the team has lost all seven of its postseason games with Lewis at the helm.
  • Even though he has been cleared for everything, Broncos coach Vance Joseph says that the team will be approaching things cautiously with Jamaal Charles in an effort to keep him fresh for the season. That makes James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter) wonder if that means Charles has already made the team. For all of his career accomplishments, it has been said that Charles may only have a 50/50 shot of making the final cut.
  • The executive who signed Charles in free agency this year, John Elway, received a promotion when the Broncos awarded him a contract extension Monday, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. The Hall of Fame quarterback is now Denver’s president of football operations/general manager. He had been their executive VP of football operations/GM since 2011.
  • The Ravens had expressed interest in running back Bobby Rainey even before Kenneth Dixon went down with a meniscus injury, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Baltimore had been in contact with Rainey throughout the summer, per Hensley, but news of Dixon’s impending operation presumably sped up contract talks and led to his signing Tuesday. Rainey, who had also drawn interest from the Jets earlier this year, joins a backfield that includes Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Buck Allen, and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Dallas Robinson and Zach Links contributed to this post.

Broncos, John Elway Agree To Extension

The Broncos and John Elway have agreed to a new five-year contract, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. The new deal ties him to Denver through the 2021 season. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it is expected to make him the NFL’s highest paid GM (Twitter link).

John Elway (vertical)Elway, one of the franchise’s all-time great players, has furthered his legacy as Denver’s GM. Since taking over as executive vice president of football operations of the Broncos in 2011, the team has gone 67-29 in the regular season with five playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and a championship following the 2015 season.

“During these last six seasons, John’s clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports,” President and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement“He’s demonstrated impressive football instincts, a strong business acumen and a consistent ability to build competitive teams…There’s no doubt John means a great deal to the Broncos, our fans and the entire community. It was important for us to reach this long-term agreement, and we’re all excited to now turn our full attention toward the 2017 season.”

In total, Elway has won three titles for the Broncos – two as a player and one as an executive. The 1983 first-overall pick spent his entire 16-year career in Denver, and the Hall of Famer holds at least 30 franchise records. He finished his career with 51,475 passing yards (sixth all-time), 300 touchdowns (10th all-time), and 226 interceptions. Following the Broncos’ 2016 Super Bowl victory, Elway became the first person to win a ring as a player and as a general manager.

Since Elway joined the Broncos’ front office in 2011, the team has selected only three Pro Bowlers in linebacker Von Miller, tight end Julius Thomas, and cornerback Chris Harris (undrafted), although he did draft a number of capable NFL starters. Elway has seen the majority of his success in free agency, where he’s brought in a number of Pro Bowl veterans, including Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders. This past offseason was highlighted by the hiring of Vance Joseph, who becomes the third head coach during Elway’s tenure (following John Fox and Gary Kubiak). The organization also signed running back Jamaal Charles and offensive linemen Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Working To Sign John Elway To Extension

The Broncos and GM John Elway have been negotiating a long-term extension, and Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports a deal could be finalized as soon as next week.

Paige notes said agreement should be announced publicly at training camp when the Broncos report on July 27. The longtime Broncos writer adds that Elway is in line to become the league’s highest-paid GM.

We’re working to get it done,” Broncos CEO and president Joe Ellis told The Gazette, noting the negotiations — ones that began in October — resumed July 4. “We’ve had some productive discussions in the last week or so and will keep talking. John’s an important part of our organization, and we want to make sure he’s here for a long time.”

This is the latest we’ve heard about an Elway deal. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reported earlier this week the sides have engaged in dialogue recently and no discord exists between them despite Elway entering a contract year after what’s been an incredibly successful tenure.

The seventh-year exec and the Broncos “still have work to do” before this is finalized, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). Jhabvala (via Twitter) adds no deal is imminent at this point. So, a slight discrepancy exists regarding how far these talks have advanced. Paige, though, reports the Broncos haven’t delayed the talks, noting the franchise considers keeping Elway a “principal priority.” The hiring of a new coaching staff played a part in these talks having been delayed.

The 57-year-old GM’s contract expires in March, per Paige. Should Elway’s salary indeed be the largest for a pure GM, it would have to exceed the $3.75MM per year that Ozzie Newsome (Ravens) and John Schneider (Seahawks) earn.

These negotiations are different than they otherwise would be. Longtime owner Pat Bowlen being stricken with Alzheimer’s leaves Ellis as the top presence in place on the other side of these discussions. Before Bowlen brought Elway back after the 2010 season, he offered the Hall of Fame quarterback the chance to acquire a stake in the franchise or an executive position, per Paige, but not both. Elway chose the exec job, and the Broncos’ fortunes changed soon after.

Elway’s returned to the organization coincided with the team mounting five straight playoff runs — two that concluded with Super Bowl berths. Denver has booked seven of its eight Super Bowls with Elway involved (five as a player, two as GM), and the Broncos’ three titles came with Elway in the fold. The Broncos have not had a losing season since Elway took over as GM and have won five of six AFC West championships in that span.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Mixon, Jets, Elway, Bell

Speaking with Sirius XM on Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis delved into the Bengals’ decision to select controversial running back Joe Mixon with the 48th pick in the draft (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). The ex-Oklahoma Sooner was caught on video striking a woman back in 2014, which caused some teams to remove him from their draft boards. Not the Bengals, though, and Lewis explained that “a lot of time” and “a lot of research” went into picking Mixon. “Time spent with Joe. Time researching people around Joe. Joe’s past in East Bay [California],” he continued. “All those kinds of things that way. His past on campus at Oklahoma since the incident. So, there couldn’t be any other red flags to say, ‘Well, well, maybe…’ No, no, no. It had to be clean, and Joe knows that. He knows going forward, it has to stay clean all the time. He’s lived on the tip of the sword for three years now, and he’s got to continue to probably for the rest of his life.” If Mixon can avoid further off-field troubles, Lewis expects him to succeed in the pros, in part because “he’s off the charts talent-wise” and “as smart as a whip.”

More from the AFC:

  • In an interview with “Boomer & Carton” of WFAN on Thursday, Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall indicated that he requested his release from the rebuilding Jets in March because they’re not going anywhere in 2017 (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “For me, I just knew I couldn’t be in that environment,” said Marshall, who holds the unfortunate distinction of being the league’s current longest-tenured player without a postseason appearance (11 years). “I think everyone knows the type of personality I am at this point in my career. I wouldn’t have made it through an entire season knowing that we didn’t have a chance. That’s all you want as a player — you just want a chance.” Long after they cut ties with Marshall, the Jets released fellow veterans Eric Decker and David Harris in June. Marshall took exception with the timing in both cases, arguing that “it was too late in free agency” and calling the Jets’ maneuverings with Decker and Harris “bad business.” Harris’ agents made it known after his release that they were unhappy with the Jets, but the 10-year veteran did end up latching on with the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots just over two weeks later.
  • Toward the end of May, Broncos general manager John Elway expressed confidence that he would sign a contract extension by the start of the season. No agreement has come to fruition in the month and a half since, but the Broncos and the contract-year executive “have maintained dialogue recently,” reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Given that there’s no deal yet for Elway, the assumption is that discord or tension exists between the two sides, writes Jhabvala, but a team source shot down that notion.
  • The Steelers should not sign franchise-tagged running back Le’Veon Bell to a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline, opines Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Running backs have short shelf lives, contends Zeise, who points out that the 25-year-old Bell has already accumulated 1,135 touches (908 rushes, 227 receptions) during his four seasons in the league. Adding to the risk, the league has suspended Bell twice, meaning he might not be trustworthy enough to extend. In Zeise’s estimation, then, what the Steelers should do is allow Bell to play the season under the $12.12MM tag and, if he fares well, tag him again for roughly $14.5MM in 2018. The Steelers could then let Bell walk when he’s exiting his prime. (For more on Bell, check out Zach Links’ piece from earlier this week.)

AFC Notes: Broncos, Steelers, Browns, Colts

Broncos general manager John Elway is entering a contract year, but the franchise icon expects to sign an extension by the start of the season, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter links). “Yep. I don’t think there will be any doubt,” said Elway, who added that he has no interest in leaving Denver. After thriving as the Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-1998, a stretch in which he won two Super Bowls and made nine Pro Bowls, the Hall of Famer’s success has continued with the organization away from the field. Since Elway took over as the Broncos’ GM five years ago, the club has gone 59-31 with four playoff appearances and another Super Bowl title.

More from the AFC:

  • Speaking with reporters (including Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unwilling to say whether he plans to continue his career beyond the upcoming season. “I never commit to anyone more than one year,” stated the 35-year-old Roethlisberger, who indicated that he did seriously consider retiring after last season. “Did you think I was lying?” he said.
  • One of Roethlisberger’s teammates, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, realizes his career is hanging in the balance as a result of the two suspensions he has incurred in three years (via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today). “I know it’s my last chance,” acknowledged Bryant, who’s back after missing all of last season on account of a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The 25-year-old doesn’t expect any more off-field slip-ups going forward. Regarding the past year, Bryant stated: “I developed better habits. I changed who I hang around. I’ve become a family man. I just had a son, he’s seven weeks. It’s really me developing my life and getting back on track.”
  • Speaking of troubled receivers, the chances of Josh Gordon ever playing for the Browns again are slim to none, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland opines (on Twitter). The suspended Gordon, whom the NFL denied reinstatement two weeks ago, can reapply in the fall.
  • The Colts still aren’t sure when safety Clayton Geathers will return from the season-ending neck injury he suffered last December, writes Kevin Bowen of the team’s website. Geathers, who underwent surgery on a bulging disc in March, started in all nine of his appearances as a second-year player in 2016. If Geathers is healthy during the upcoming season, he should be in line to start alongside free safety Malik Hooker, the Colts’ first-round pick. Otherwise, that role could go to T.J. Green.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Browns, Raiders, Fins

Broncos general manager John Elway issued an update Wednesday regarding the status of impending free agent linebacker DeMarcus Ware, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “I haven’t talked to DeMarcus,” Elway said “He’s been around, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down with DeMarcus, so as we get through this and get back to Denver, I’m sure I’ll sit down with DeMarcus and we’ll talk about it.”

On the other hand, rookie head coach Vance Joseph has talked to the future Hall of Fame pass rusher “four or five” times over the past couple months. The soon-to-be 35-year-old Ware has made it no secret that he’d like to return to Denver for a fourth season, but his previous employer, the Cowboys, could pursue him if he reaches free agency. Between Dallas and Denver, Ware has amassed 138.5 sacks in 12 years. Four of those sacks came last season for Ware, who appeared in a career-low 10 games on account of back and forearm injuries.

Elway, meanwhile, could become a free agent executive after next season. It doesn’t look as if that will happen, however, as contract extension talks between Elway and the Broncos “going fine,” the Hall of Fame quarterback said (via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post). “I don’t anticipate any problems,” he added. The 56-year-old Elway has been resoundingly successful as an executive, having helped the Broncos to a 67-29 record, five playoff berths, two AFC championships and a Super Bowl in six seasons in their front office.

More from three other AFC cities:

  • Speaking to reporters in January, Browns head coach Hue Jackson didn’t dismiss the possibility of trading the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. GM Sashi Brown backed up Jackson on Wednesday, saying (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com): “We’re going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there. I think we have to do that. It’s not a design of ours. We would have to wait and see what might come, and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
  • Looking to keep the Raiders in Oakland, the Ronnie Lott-led Fortress Investment Group has submitted a formal stadium plan to the NFL within the past 10 days, reports the Associated Press. However, it’s “not moving the needle much,” according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Even after losing financial backing from businessman Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs, the Raiders are eyeing Las Vegas relocation, though two owners told Cole they’re concerned with the amount of debt the franchise would take on in such a scenario (Twitter links).
  • Despite suffering what could have been a career-threatening neck injury last year, Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi expects to be ready for next season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Cutting Misi would save the Dolphins $4.2MM against just $578K in dead money in 2017, but they haven’t ruled out retaining him, notes Jackson.
  • Jackson also has further details on defensive end Cameron Wake‘s two-year, $19MM contract with the Dolphins. Wake will get a renegotiated signing bonus of $1MM in 2017 and a $125K workout bonus in each season.

Broncos To Discuss Extension With John Elway

The Broncos are expected to resume contract talks with general manager John Elway soon, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, who notes that Elway is entering the final season of his contract. Now that Denver has revamped its coaching staff, the club will now turn its attention to the front office.John Elway (Vertical)

[RELATED: Top Three Offseason Needs — Denver Broncos]

“I’ll start to have discussions with his representatives and I know he’ll want to move that along and I’m confident that we’ll be able to get a deal done and keep him here for a long time,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said. “As it should be.”

Elway, 56, took over as Denver’s vice of president of football operations in 2011, and was named general manager in 2014, when he signed a three-year extension with the club. Elway’s run with the Broncos can’t be considered anything other than a tremendous success, as he’s kept the club competitive while cycling through head coaches, quarterbacks, and schemes. Denver has posted a 67-29 under Elway’s leadership, and won the Super Bowl in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Broncos Coaching Staff

The Broncos coaching staff looks a whole lot different than it did 48 hours ago. On Wednesday, the organization announced that they had hired former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their new head coach. Last night saw two more changes. Former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joined the Rams while the Broncos were finalizing a deal with new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Defensive backs coach Joe Woods is considered the favorite to be promoted to the defensive coordinator position, although he still has some competition for the gig. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos will also be interviewing Reggie Herring for the opening. Herring spent the past two seasons as the team’s linebackers coach, and he handled some defensive play-calling duties earlier this season. Herring has also served as the linebackers coach for the Texans, Cowboys, and Bears.

As we wrap our head around all of these coaching moves, let’s take a look at some additional changes in Denver…

  • While McCoy seems to be in the driver’s seat for the offensive coordinator gig, Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the organization still plans on interviewing Bill Musgrave today. The long-time coach spent the past two seasons as the Raiders offensive coordinator.
  • The Broncos have parted ways with tight ends coach Brian Pariani, according to Troy Renck of ABC Denver7 (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports that offensive line coach Clancy Barone also won’t be back. Finally, Klis reports (via Twitter) that Joseph notified special teams assistant Tony Coaxum and offensive line assistant Jim Cregg that they also wouldn’t be retained for next season.
  • Joseph acknowledged that Phillips is “one of [his] football dads,” but he also admitted that Woods was “ready to be a coordinator,” as ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold passes along (via Twitter). Wolfe tweets that the Broncos loved Phillips, but the organization saw higher potential in Woods.
  • Jason La Canfora tweets that general manager John Elway was in favor of changes to the Broncos coaching staff even if former head coach Gary Kubiak stuck around. Klis adds (via Twitter) that Joseph wanted “sweeping changes” when it came to his new staff.

AFC West Notes: Shanahan, Raiders, Chargers

Kyle Shanahan followed Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub in conducting a four-hour interview with Broncos brass, John Elway relays (on Twitter). While the Falcons’ OC will continue on the interview circuit — having already interviewed or being set to do so with the Jaguars, 49ers and Rams — he remains focused on landing this job. And past tensions between the organization and his father won’t stand in the way, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

Klis notes Elway and Mike Shanahan are friends, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports Broncos president Joe Ellis won’t stand in the way if Elway wants to hire the 37-year-old son of the franchise’s winningest head coach. Ellis was with the Broncos when they made the decision to fire the elder Shanahan after 14 seasons following the 2008 campaign. Elway worked with Mike Shanahan during the successful coach’s three stints in Denver — the first two coming as the team’s top offensive assistant in a four-year 1980s stay and again for two seasons in the early ’90s — before returning to take a leadership position with the franchise two years after it fired Shanahan.

The Broncos are set to meet with Vance Joseph sometime after Sunday’s Dolphins-Steelers wild-card game.

Here’s the latest coming out of the AFC West as the Raiders are set to play in their first playoff game in 14 years.

  • The Raiders will present details of their Las Vegas project on Wednesday at a meeting involving the NFL’s finance and stadium committees, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter), adding (Twitter link) the team will not apply for relocation until its playoff run concludes. Underdogs with their third-string quarterback at the helm against the Texans today, that decision could come soon. Last we heard, the sides had made significant progress on the long-discussed Las Vegas stadium after some hiccups between the Raiders and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson emerged.
  • Donald Penn said he sustained a small fracture in his knee but doesn’t need surgery, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Penn also eyes a return for a divisional-round game if the Raiders win today, per Schefter. The Pro Bowl left tackle will miss the first game of his career and his first opportunity to suit up for a playoff contest since his rookie season with the Buccaneers in 2007. Menelik Watson will slide over and start on the left side, with the previously supplanted Austin Howard returning to his right tackle spot.
  • Wade Phillips has been connected to the Browns’ DC job after his Broncos contract expired, and while it hasn’t been ruled out the veteran DC could return to Denver, the Raiders are another name to watch for the 69-year-old assistant’s services, Pelissero tweets. This is an indication second-year Raiders DC Ken Norton Jr. could be on the hot seat after his unit, one fortified by the additions of Bruce Irvin and Sean Smith in the offseason, finished 26th in total defense for the second straight season. Phillips’ Broncos finished as the top DVOA defense for the second straight year.
  • The Chargers will bring Panthers DC Sean McDermott in for a second interview, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports. He initially sat down with Bolts brass on Friday. Patriots DC Matt Patricia will meet with the team next.