ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – One leadership saga down, another one continues for the Denver Broncos.
John Elway agreed to a new five-year contract on Monday, ending a long-running story line that had fans wondering if their Hall of Fame QB-turned-GM might leave the franchise he’s led to three Super Bowl titles.
Elway had insisted ever since the club approached him last October about a new deal that he wasn’t going anywhere. Yet, as months passed without an agreement, the issue came to dominate discussions about the Broncos along with their quarterback puzzle.
Their on-field leader will be determined over the next few weeks as Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch resume their much-hyped QB competition. The Broncos begin their seventh training camp under Elway’s front office leadership on Thursday.
“During these last six seasons, John’s clearly established himself as one of the best general managers in all of sports. He’s demonstrated impressive football instincts, a strong business acumen and a consistent ability to build competitive teams,” team President Joe Ellis said in a statement.
“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.”
Elway was set to enter the final year of his contract as general manager and executive vice president of football operations. The sides tore up the final year of his old contract and added four more seasons, through 2021.
“Well deserved!!!,” tweeted Broncos All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib. “#Legend on the field and in the office!!!”
In his 22 seasons with the franchise, including 16 as a player, the Broncos have fewer losing seasons (two) than Lombardi Trophies (three).
Elway led Denver to Super Bowl wins after the 1997 and ’98 seasons to cap his Hall of Fame playing career. He returned to his beloved Broncos in 2011, and from the front office has led them to a 77-33 record with five playoff appearances and a win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50. Only New England (86-26) is better over that span.
During his six seasons as an executive, Elway is the only GM in the league who has acquired future Pro Bowl players through the draft, street free agency, unrestricted free agency and college free agency.
Ellis has been running the franchise for the last few years with owner Pat Bowlen battling Alzheimer’s.
“I appreciate the trust and confidence that Joe has shown in me,” Elway said in a statement. “Pat Bowlen has always put outstanding leadership in place, and I’m grateful for the support Joe gives us to compete for championships each and every year. This is a special place, and the Broncos are home to me. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, I’m excited about the future of this team and this organization.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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