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Bowlen: Next Denver Broncos coach will not also be GM

Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado
Darin McGregor/Rocky Mountain NewsBroncos owner Pat Bowlen speaks at a news conference at the Broncos' Dove Valley heqadquarters in Englewood, Colorado on Wednesday.
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In a tear-filled news conference the day after firing Mike Shanahan, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen gave no timetable for hiring the coach’s replacement and says he fired Shanahan after 14 seasons because, simply, he felt it was time for a change.

Bowlen said the next coach would not also hold the general manager job as Shanahan did but says his priority was hiring a new coach first.

“I don’t anticipate the new coach will have both jobs,” Bowlen said

He says he had not yet compiled a short list of candidates.

After 14 years, Bowlen on Tuesday fired the winningest coach in Broncos history, parting ways with Shanahan, who had delivered the team’s only two Super Bowl trophies.

In the news conference Wednesday, Bowlen admitted Shanahan was disappointed with the decision but the longstanding partners did not have ill words during their conversation.

“It wasn’t a confrontational conversation. It was a conversation where I said I had to move on, and that was it.”

When the now former Broncos coach spoke later, he gave a vote of confidence for John Elway to return to the organization and spoke fondly of his former players and coaches including Elway, Terrell Davis, and Shannon Sharpe.

“You’re not here 21 years without having good people around you.”

Three league sources said Tuesday afternoon that in a short meeting, Bowlen had wanted Shanahan to make changes on the team’s coaching staff, particularly with defensive coordinator Bob Slowik, and that Shanahan had refused.

Shanahan refused to lay blame on Slowik or the parade of defensive coordinators that have come in and out of Dove Valley the past eight years.

“I don’t think it’s fair for me to go in that direction. The bottom line is that it comes back to me. That’s how you’re evaluated. Defensively, we can come back.”

Shanahan says he’s interested in coaching again but hasn’t taken any phone calls about current openings.

“I’ll be coaching again,” he said. “I can’t give you a time frame. I love the NFL, so I don’t see getting out of it, but you just don’t know.”

Shanahan maintained he held high promise for this year’s team, despite the late collapse. “The best I’ve felt about a team the past five, six years was this team because we were young, had character, and the direction we were going.”


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