ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In a new interview, President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway discussed his experience battling COVID-19 for the first time.
Elway described his symptoms — mostly fatigue and some nausea — as mild. He's since recovered and recently returned to work at UCHealth Training Center.
"You know, I feel great," Elway told DenverBroncos.com's Phil Milani. "I'm glad that I was able get through it, and I got great care here from our doctors. The hardest thing, I think, was the quarantine, of not being able to see anybody for about 10 days. So it was a little bit lonely there, but I'm very fortunate we have great docs and got through it with flying colors."
As the number of cases continues to climb both in Colorado and across the country, Elway said that the league's efforts to be proactive in preventing or halting the spread of the disease has been necessary and effective.
"I think that right now with the cases growing all the time, the NFL is doing a tremendous job as far as trying to lock things down and be real, real safe with it and protect our players and protect the staff," Elway said. "Difficult times. And, you know, we've adjusted this whole year, so we'll continue to adjust. Obviously we want to make sure that hopefully we get this whole thing behind us, and I think it's much better to be safer now than sorry."
As the conversation turned to the Broncos' performance on the field, Elway told Milani that he's excited about Lock's progress, as he bounced back from two consecutive losses to help lead the Broncos to a 20-13 win over the previously 6-3 Dolphins.
"I think that he's got the right mentality, because he wants to be great," Elway said. "I think he'll continue to work at that. But obviously when you're going through it as a young quarterback, you're going to see a lot of different things, a lot of different looks. Those defensive coordinators know when they've got a young quarterback and try to confuse them. So I think he's done a heck of a job going through that. Every snap he takes this year he's going to continue to get better, and it's just going to help him in the future."
In particular, Lock's ability to fight through adversity after a four-interception outing in Las Vegas impressed Elway as he continues to evaluate the young quarterback.
"I think that's one of the bright things that Drew has done," Elway said. "He's very resilient, and he's continued to bounce back. And you know you're going to go through growing pains, especially as a young quarterback. He had the five starts last year and then started early for us and then got banged up and missed a couple starts and came back in. … I think we're excited about what we've seen. Obviously the consistency hasn't been there where we wanted it to be, but you look at everything that's gone on for us this year, I think that they've hung in there and done a heck of a job — no offseason with a new offensive staff, a lot of young guys playing, no preseason games.
"So everything's been kind of a little bit against us, but I think that these guys have not let that affect them, and they've continued to work their tail off and keep their nose to the grindstone and continue to work hard week in and week out."
Elway also said Head Coach Vic Fangio's progress in his second year in his position has been notable, especially with the circumstances this season.
"Well, there's been so many different schedule changes and everything that's gone on, and a lot of different protocols have been put in place all the time, so I think Vic has done a tremendous job," Elway said. "He's been very flexible with everything. And obviously coaches, especially if you've been in the league as long as Vic has, you kind of get settled on a schedule and what you're used to. This has been totally upside down from what we're used to and what he's used to. I'm proud of Vic and I think the growth that he's shown as a head coach and how he's handled the football team and kept all the players focused on what we're doing with everything that's going on outside the building, It think he's done a tremendous job."
As the Elway and the Broncos turn to a Week 12 matchup with the Saints, they'll prepare for a New Orleans team missing Drew Brees, who will miss several games with a rib injury. Though the star quarterback won't play against Denver, Elway took a moment to look back on Brees' remarkable career.
"It's been unbelievable," Elway said. "I think you look at him and the things that he's been through and his work ethic, he's a surefire Hall of Famer five years after he gets done. He's just a guy that's a great example for this league for guys that work hard and continue to grow like he has. He's been tremendous, a credit as a player, as well as a person, for the NFL."