Broncos General Manager John Elway worked for Pat Bowlen for his entire playing career and he returned to the Broncos fold as an executive several years ago, which made Bowlen’s decision to step down as owner on Wednesday because he has Alzheimer’s Disease an emotional one for the team’s General Manager.
Elway shed a few tears at a Wednesday press conference about the change at the top of the team’s hierarchy, calling it a “sad, sad day” for the organization and saying that he hopes his bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day resides next to one honoring the team’s longtime owner.
“From the inside out, it will never be the same here,” Elway said, via the Denver Post. “He has given me so much. It’s going to be hard to walk through those doors and not see him.”
Team president Joe Ellis, who has taken over much of the day-to-day responsibility for running the team, also spoke at the press conference and promised to keep running the team the way that Bowlen did over the last three decades.
“We are going to do right by his family, the team and the community,” Ellis said. “This is really hard. It doesn’t change what we do. He loved running this team and was really good at it. … We all wish Pat would walk through that door and do what he did so well. But he left us a blueprint that’s easy to follow.”
The Broncos have had just five losing seasons since Bowlen bought the team and have won two Super Bowls while advancing to four others during his time as owner.