By ZACK KELBERMAN
(247SPORTS) – Gary Kubiak could head toward greener pastures in 2019.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Kubiak has emerged as a viable offensive coordinator candidate for the league’s upcoming coaching cycle. Kubiak, who retired last year due to health issues and was re-hired as a senior advisor, won’t consider head-coaching positions, but the Broncos are bracing for Kubiak to shop his wares as an assistant.
“They understand this development and believe this is something Kubiak will look into if offered anything,” Rapoport writes.
This isn’t the first time Kubiak’s name has been linked to an OC gig. In fact, last November, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora broke the news that Kubiak was open to resurfacing as a play-caller, a duty he held on three separate occasions — twice with the Broncos (1995-2002, 2003-05), once with the Baltimore Ravens (2014).
In January, La Canfora followed up on his report, claiming that Broncos general manager John Elway promoted Kubiak to an “enlarged” front office role this year because NFL teams had started to come calling.
“He had talked to a lot of his former coaches earlier in the year, and alerted some of them who are out of work, ‘Hey, I can’t be a head coach. I know those days are over. But I’m looking at some of these offenses, I’m looking at some of these teams that aren’t, frankly, doing what I think they could be doing, and there might be an opportunity for us’ (in 2018 to coach again),” La Canfora said during a radio interview on KJR-AM in Seattle.
“And then as we started getting closer to go time, and as people started sniffing around and calling in the final weeks of the regular season, and after sitting down with his wife, he’s like, ‘Yeah, even the coordinating thing, for my health and for my family’s health and their concerns, I don’t think that’s going to work.
“But I am enjoying doing these little scouting projects for John Elway.’”
Third in command behind Elway and director of player personnel Matt Russell, Kubiak was a central voice in the draft room this past April, as Denver landed one of the best rookie classes in franchise history. He’s a confidant of Elway, a trusted sounding board and respected evaluator.
A Super Bowl-winner in 2015, Kubiak resigned as Denver’s head man following the 2016 season due in part to the day-to-day stressors of the sport. The Broncos re-hired him in July of 2017 to analyze college prospects and help the club in free agency. But Kubiak maintained that he’d always stick close to the sport, so his wanting to take on an old role should come as little surprise.
His potential foray to the sidelines creates an interesting scenario for the Broncos, who are expected to fire head coach Vance Joseph at season’s end. The impending housecleaning should create an OC opening, with Bill Musgrave among the casualties, though it’s unlikely to be filled by Kubiak.