-- Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen hired John Elway to return the team to prominence, and now he and team president Joe Ellis have formally extended the executive vice president's contract and added general manager to his title to try to keep the team there.
Elway's original contract, signed in early 2011, was set to enter its final year in 2014. The team called it a three-year extension to that original contract, but some changes were made for the coming season, including a new title, so the new paperwork is essentially a four-year offering that runs through the 2017 season.
Already the franchise's top football decision-maker, Elway's duties remain the same, as he'll continue to oversee the team's coaching staff as well as its personnel department, and strength and conditioning and training staffs.
The Broncos have finished 8-8, 13-3 and 13-3 in Elway's three seasons at the top of the football flow chart, with three AFC West titles to go with a Super Bowl appearance earlier this month. The Broncos were routed 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Elway has already promised to do "what's necessary'' to get the team back in position to win a title.
"Our organization is extremely pleased with the work John Elway has done in his three years since rejoining the Broncos," Ellis said in a statement. "He has demonstrated great vision and leadership in his role, assembling a championship-caliber team and positioning it for sustained success. We are very confident in the direction of the Broncos with John Elway leading our football operations."
At the team's season-ending news conference, Elway said: "The goal has not changed, and it will not change. We will use this as an experience that we went through, be disappointed that we didn't play better, but the bottom line is this organization and what Pat Bowlen wants from this organization -- that has not changed, and it will not change. The bottom line is we're going to work as hard as we worked this year, if not harder, and continue to do that with the mindset that we want to be world champions, and we're going to do everything we can to get there."
Elway hired John Fox as the team's coach in 2011, and with Fox's deal entering its final year in 2014 as well, the Broncos have already had preliminary discussions with Fox's representatives about a multiyear extension.
Elway said during the Broncos' postseason run that Fox's contract would be addressed "when we sit down after the season.''
The Broncos re-signed defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to a two-year deal last week and will have an eye on offensive coordinator Adam Gase's status as well. Gase, who drew interest from the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns for their head-coaching positions, will be in the last year of his contract in 2014.