Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway did his pre-draft press conference on Monday, and one question brought what I thought was one of the "money comments" from the entire briefing.
In referencing one of the National Football League drafts' common themes, that of impact players, a reporter asked John if the term impact meant in the future or now for the Broncos.
"No, we're talking about now," John replied in words that should make every Bronco fan very happy.
The longtime NFL head coach Chuck Knox, who once said that he learned everything he ever needed to know back in the eighth grade at his school in remote Pennsylvania, use to say that, "Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is cash."
John Elway has done a dramatic and impressive job in his 15 months at the helm of the Broncos' football operations, and from my standpoint, it is just great to see him bring the same aggressive drive to his executive position as he took with him on the field every day as one of the game's finest quarterbacks—if not the very finest—of all time.
"We're talking about now," John said, and that is how he is building his team.
For the future, for sure, but the short future, the one for which we are selling tickets to the best fans in the NFL, that's the one we can fell, touch, smell.
The presence of Peyton Manning is Denver says it all about what John Elway can do, would do, will do, and HAS DONE so far.
And the draft is the next step, not the only one but an absolutely critical one, in the building of the Broncos, those who will play the future as well as those who will play this season.
He was also reminded that last year he said he had hoped to get three starters out of the draft, and that goal was accomplished. When asked if he hoped to get three starters again this year, John did not back away and said that yes, this again is a goal.
Adding players who can play now is a really big deal, and you never know how great something can be when you are open to it.
The San Francisco 49ers had never advanced very far in the playoffs, but then one year under Bill Walsh they had four rookies starting in the defensive backfield, and they won their first Super Bowl.
Back when John was busy conducting "The Drive" at Cleveland on January 11, 1988, he was facing a third and 18 and what looked like two plays away from the end of the Broncos season. Head Coach Dan Reeves told john not to try to get it all at once, play it safe on third down, then come back on fourth.
And I still remember, and always will remember, watching from the field level behind the end zone as John took the snap out of the shotgun—it bounced off motion wide receiver Steve Watson's rump on the way to Elway, by the way, giving Browns' fans another split second of fevered hope—he saw wide receiver Mark Jackson and fired a laser for 22 yards. First down, Denver, and the air just kept escaping from the Cleveland balloon.
John was willing to wait, but when he saw the opportunity at that precise moment, he took it.
Fast forward 25 years to the draft.
He has made it clear that the Broncos will be open to anything, moving up, moving back, but always focused on taking the best player for the team.
And John Elway absolutely is building the Broncos for the future with what is hoped will be a number of impact players..
But he likes the immediate future best.
"We're talking about now."