ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - - The Denver Broncos on Wednesday released the following statement on Owner Pat Bowlen:
"In recent years, Denver Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen has taken a reduced role with his team while courageously and privately battling Alzheimer's disease.
"The Broncos are very saddened that Mr. Bowlen is no longer able to be part of the team's daily operations due to his condition. We continue to offer our full support, compassion and respect to 'Mr. B,' who has faced Alzheimer's disease with such dignity and strength.
"As Mr. Bowlen focuses on his health, the Broncos have announced changes to their leadership structure that will ensure the long-term stability of the franchise.
"Mr. Bowlen's ownership of the Broncos is held in a trust—the Pat Bowlen Trust—overseen by non-family trustees with President Joe Ellis continuing to operate the team with full authority on all matters. Plans for this trust were arranged by Mr. Bowlen beginning more than a decade ago as part of his succession plan to keep the Broncos in the Bowlen family.
"Mr. Bowlen's long-term hope is for one of his children to run the Broncos at the appropriate time, and his succession plan will continue to be implemented by our organization in compliance with NFL ownership policies.
"Ellis, who has worked with Mr. Bowlen for nearly 30 years, also has been named the Broncos' chief executive officer and adds those responsibilities to his role as team president. He serves as the club's representation for all league matters.
"Going forward, Pat Bowlen's indelible contributions to the Broncos, the NFL and this community will continue to define his three decades of ownership and serve as the standard he has set for his franchise.
"With more than 300 victories, including six AFC Championships and back-to-back Super Bowls, Mr. Bowlen has established the culture of winning that is responsible for the Broncos' sustained success. His work on various league committees has helped the NFL achieve unprecedented prosperity, and his philanthropic generosity has had a positive impact on so many throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.
"The Broncos have the utmost appreciation for Mr. Bowlen and are completely focused on adding to his championship legacy with him in the years ahead."
STATEMENT FROM ANNABEL BOWLEN, WIFE OF DENVER BRONCOS OWNER PAT BOWLEN
"As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer's disease for the last few years. He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, 'It's not about me.'
"Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner. My family is deeply saddened that Pat's health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition.
"Alzheimer's has taken so much from Pat, but it will never take away his love for the Denver Broncos and his sincere appreciation for the fans.
"My family will stand strong with Pat as he continues his courageous fight against a disease that is unfortunately all too common. One in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer's, and my family is experiencing the same difficult emotions that so many have felt when someone they love and respect is afflicted with this condition.
"Although we wish Pat were in better health, he developed a plan many years ago for the continuation of his values with the hope of keeping the Broncos in the Bowlen family. I know that his goals will be effectively implemented by Joe Ellis, who has worked with Pat for nearly his entire ownership of the Broncos.
"Long-term, I fully support Pat's hope of keeping the Denver Broncos in the Bowlen family.
"I am extremely proud of Pat's incredible accomplishments as owner of the Broncos, most notably the winning tradition he has established and the positive impact he has made in our community. Pat would be the first to say that none of the Broncos' success would be possible without the players, coaches, employees and fans whom he's shared such a strong connection with over the years.
"On behalf of Pat and the rest of my family, I want to thank all Broncos fans for their overwhelming support and how respectful they continue to be of his privacy. We look forward to sharing many more successful seasons of Denver Broncos football with you."