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Sacco Sez: Elway's decision to step back and up a deserving and great one


This week in Denver Broncos history is marked by the blockbuster decision by President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway to step back and up, and to hire a new general manager to make all the football personnel decisions.

A great move, in a lifetime of great moves, by Elway.

Over my 43 years with the Broncos and 46 overall in pro sports, I have watched the workload grow exponentially, and the number of people doing the work as well.

The business of the National Football League is now seven days a week, 365 days a year.

There is nothing like the Broncos family, and no one has been more loyal to this brand and city than Elway, but ...

This week, Elway's seventh grandchild was born. Frankly, that is a way bigger deal than anything else, and he deserves to spend time with those grandkids. If not now, when?

Elway is as passionate about his work as anyone I have ever known. He knows the score, and he keeps score. You think you don't like to lose? Try it from Elway's perspective.

So the only way out is to come close to getting out, which is what he has done.

And he is not the first, by the way.

Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end who became a general manager for the Ravens, also stepped back and up into a fuller view of the big picture when in 2018 he relinquished his GM role and became an executive vice president in Baltimore's player personnel department.

The Big Picture is the one I want John Elway to watch. He absolutely should be at the highest level watching over the Broncos' football family.

And speaking of family, the Broncos have been the second family (sometimes the first), the other family, for guys like us.

As player and general manager, John has put in 26 years (and counting) with the Broncos. Only Pat Bowlen, Director of Sports Medicine Steve Antonopulos and myself have put in more time.

Speaking for myself, I can only work hard and be loyal and faithful and true. Getting to work for Pat Bowlen and with John Elway is a bonus of the highest order.

John has defined our careers, and he absolutely gets to call his own shot now. And those few critics who say that a new general manager cannot function within Elway's shadow are absolutely wrong.

I have known John for 38 years, and his integrity cannot be questioned. He is a man of his word, period.

If he says he will do something, or not do something (like butt into the personnel decisions of his new general manager), he will do it.

Not only is he John Elway, but I hasten to add that he is the son of Jack Elway. Jack was the straightest shooter ever and imparted every significant value of quality into his son.

This new move lets him focus on the Broncos football family at the highest level.

And not to drift too far, but speaking of family, Matt Russell has opted to retire. Russell tied the two families together when he said, "John and Joe, by the grace of their good hearts, allowed me to save my career. And in doing so I saved my family. And I'm at the point where they deserve to have me around and I want to be there for them."

Those are courageous words reflective of a courageous act.

The Broncos are family, and I shall be forever grateful and honored that Elway has been part of ours.

Elway could have moved anywhere upon retirement. But he stayed here.

When Pat called, John responded.

He has served the Broncos in both sides of the player-executive coin, and is the only Hall of Fame quarterback to lead his team to Super Bowl championships as a player (two) as well as in the role of general manager (Super Bowl 50).

This is a great move. Don't worry a bit how John will handle it. He has always been and is true to his word, to himself, and to the Denver Broncos.

We all know our recent record. It burns no one more than John Elway.

A new era of Broncos greatness is closer than it seems.

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