Elway hired as vice president of football operations for Denver Broncos

John Elway became famous for his Sunday work for the Denver Broncos over the course of a 16-year Hall of Fame career. Now, 12 years after retiring as one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, Elway is embarking on another career, aimed at making the Broncos relevant and showing that legends can make the transition from the field to the front office.

Elway was hired as vice president of football operations by long-time friend and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen days after Denver ended a disastrous 2010 season in which it went 4-12. It was Denver’s lowest win total since it went 2-7 in a strike-shortened 1982 season the year before Elway came to town.

Many league observers thought the Elway hiring was a publicity stunt to help draw attention away from the disastrous two-year Josh McDaniels era that alienated much of the team’s deep-rooted fan base. Elway, however, has been working to get into this position for years, including a successful tenure as the leader of Denver’s championship Arena League team that he and Bowlen ran.

In the two months since Elway has been in charge, he has led the way on the hiring of respected new coach John Fox, led the team’s scouting contingent at both the Senior Bowl and NFL combine and spearheaded the key re-signing of star cornerback Champ Bailey. In between, Elway’s face has been pressed against a television screen, watching film of Denver’s roster as well as free agent and draft prospects.

“He is all in. This is not a public relations move,” Fox said. “He is burning the midnight oil, he is working hard and he is very willing to learn … He understands what a football player looks like. Standing in the huddle and doing the things that he did as a team leader, as a football player at the quarterback position — I think he understands what a football player looks like. I have been very impressed. He has a great willingness to learn the things he does not know, but he knows football and I am confident.”

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