SBD/May 8, 2012/Franchises

With One Year Left On Contract, Broncos GM Xanders Agree To Part Ways With Team

Elway (l) says team will not hire replacement for Xanders
Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations John Elway and GM Brian Xanders "mutually decided to part ways" when it became apparent the two's "career desires would never quite intersect,” according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. Xanders, who spent four years with the team, including the last three as GM, “leaves with one year left on his contract.” Xanders said, “I appreciate everything that (owner) Pat Bowlen has done for the Broncos and for bringing me here in 2008. It was great working with Coach John Fox. I’m telling you, he’s a great coach to work with, and it was great working with John Elway.” Klis notes the GM position “had long been Xanders’ dream position, but his first big gig never came with the final-say authority on roster personnel.” Former coach Mike Shanahan had final say in ‘08, as did successor Josh McDaniels from ’09-10. Elway was “hired to take control of the front office” prior to last season. Elway: “Everybody would like to have that position with that type of control, especially a general manager. That was something we discussed. Hopefully, someday Brian will be in that position where he is making all the decisions in the end.” Klis notes that Elway’s “biggest off-field moves seemingly have been made to streamline the Broncos’ football operations. He promoted Matt Russell from Dir of College Scouting to Dir of Player Personnel, which means he "oversees talent both on the NFL and college level." Elway also hired former agent Mike Sullivan to become the team’s new man in charge of contract negotiations and the salary cap.” Elway said, “It is a streamline; we’re not adding anybody” (DENVER POST, 5/8).

SHOWED ELWAY THE ROPES: The AP's Arnie Stapleton wrote that while Fox was leading the team’s on-field turnaround, it was Xanders “who helped show Elway the ropes of an NFL front office job last year, guiding him through the administrative procedures and policies.” There “will be no numerical replacement for Xanders; nobody else will get the GM title” (AP, 5/7).’s Bill Williamson writes, “I think the move was made because Elway is comfortable in his role.” In the past year it “became clear the Broncos were top heavy." Elway and Fox have a "terrific working relationship and there is a great comfort level between the two." There "just wasn’t enough for Xanders to do.” This decision is “another sign that the Broncos are Elway’s team” (, 5/8).
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