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Broncos will rent new GM as Elway relinquishes management of the roster

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ENGLEWOOD, Colorado. – After a decade as the key decision maker for the Denver Broncos, John Elway and the team have decided it is time for fresh eyes to make the calls on the Broncos list.

With the Broncos' playoff drought growing to five seasons after this year's 5:11 win, Elway said Monday that he will stay in place as team president but the Broncos will hire a general manager "to oversee all football decisions to meet and work in partnership. " with [trainer] Vic [Fangio]. & # 39; & # 39;

The new GM will control the draft, the free agency and the roster, according to Elway.

"I knew there would be a time, this was a position I hopefully would move to," said Elway. "It gave me the opportunity to move up and I think the time is right for that." me. & # 39; & # 39;

Elway has already promised that the team will cast a "wide net" to find the best candidate, with former Broncos scouts or professional recruiter like Adam Peters, senior football vice president of the San Francisco 49ers, assistant director of Chicago players' staff Bears, Champ Kelly, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers player staff director John Spytek has already emerged as opportunities.

Elway said Monday that the team has a long list of names and the goal is to build the list quickly and efficiently in order to find the "best candidate, the best person for the job." He said he had also had a phone conversation with Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome in the past few days about Newsome's similar move after a long stint as general manager of Baltimore Ravens.

Matt Russell, the Broncos' director of staff, whom Elway called his "right man", also announced Monday that he is retiring. Russell, having worked for some time with the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, was hired by the Broncos as Director of College Scouting in 2009, two years before Elway returned to the franchise.

Elway said Team CEO Joe Ellis, Russell and Fangio will be involved in hiring the new general manager.

Elway, 60, became a seventh grandfather on Monday morning and said: "There are some other things in life that I would really like to do, but I would still love to play football … my seventh grandchild was born [Monday] morning and it's time for me to spend some time with them too … there's nothing like being a grandfather. & # 39; & # 39;

It remains to be seen whether Elway will stay in the new role beyond next season as he still has a year left on his current contract. But he said on Monday that he envisions a scenario where he will stay beyond the next season.

"We didn't get a chance to talk about it, [but] selfishly, yes that would be something that I would be interested in, but I think we'll take a look," Elway said. It's a role I'm looking forward to … we'll see how it all goes. & # 39; & # 39;

He's been the Broncos' top footballer since Pat Bowlen brought Elway back into the organization after a disastrous 4:12 win in 2010 that included a malfunctioning locker room, espionage scandal, and Josh McDaniels & # 39; sacking.

Elway's first move was to hire John Fox to coach the team in 2011. The Broncos then selected linebacker Von Miller with the April draft's second pick and began a streak of five consecutive AFC West titles.

The Broncos signed Peyton Manning in 2012 and added free agents such as Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders, DeMarcus Ware and T.J. Station. In Manning's four seasons, the Broncos won four division titles, won 50 games, went to two Super Bowls and won the Super Bowl 50.

But the Broncos haven't been in the playoffs since. And since Gary Kubiak resigned as coach for health reasons after the 9: 7 success in 2016, the Broncos have been 23:41 in the last four seasons with three seasons with at least 10 defeats.

Elway said the team's current ownership structure would not affect its ability to find the best candidate. The team is currently run by a trust as some of Pat Bowlen's children are fighting a legal battle for control to determine which of Bowling's children would be the primary owner of the team. Selling the team is an option when the family cannot reach an agreement. Bowling died in June 2019.

"The way ownership is and I understand there are some questions about ownership out there, but the thing on the football side is that we've had every opportunity we've ever had when Mr. Bowlen was here," Elway said . "That hadn't really changed. We still had the resources we ever had to bring a successful team to the field. & # 39; & # 39;

Elway's place in franchise history has long been secured. He was the Broncos' first Hall of Famer after retiring after the team's consecutive Super Bowl victories at the end of the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

With his Super Bowl 50 victory as an executive, Elway had a lead role in all three Super Bowl wins in the franchise and in 20 of the 23 Broncos playoff wins of all time.

Elway had been talking about the move for the past two weeks, he said. When asked if he would have made the same decision if the team ended 13-3 this season, he said he couldn't be sure.

"I would probably feel a lot better at 13: 3, feel a lot better … I started thinking about what I want with my life, what I wanted to experience in my life to take advantage of the hard work I've done. "

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Melinda Martin