ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is giving up control of the team because of Alzheimer’s disease.
The 70-year-old Bowlen will no longer be a part of the club’s daily operations, the Broncos announced Wednesday. Team President Joe Ellis is adding the title of chief executive officer and will have final say on all matters.
The Broncos say the ownership of the franchise is held in a trust Bowlen set up more than a decade ago in hopes that one of his seven children will one day run the team.
The team issued a statement offering our full support, compassion and respect to Mr. B,’ who has faced Alzheimer’s disease with such dignity and strength.
Business is expected to go on as usual at Broncos headquarters.
Bowlen had reduced his public appearances in recent years, although he was still a fixture at the team’s Dove Valley complex and at all of its games.
After acknowledging in 2009 that he suffered short-term memory loss, he stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2011 when he promoted Ellis to president.
For the first time this offseason, Ellis represented the Broncos at the annual owners meetings.
The Broncos’ 186 home victories are the most in the NFL since he bought the team in 1984, when John Elway was his quarterback, not his front office chief, and the Broncos’ five losing seasons during those 30 years are the fewest in the league over that span.
Elway, now the team’s general manager, once said Bowlen’s competitive nature as a triathlete when he was younger translated into his business life and how he ran the Broncos.
Brown sues over championship ring
Hall of Fame football star Jim Brown – running out of time to retrieve his 1964 NFL championship ring – has sued a memorabilia dealer. The lawsuit seeks to halt the sale of the ring in an online auction that ends Friday. It also seeks unspecified damages over broadcast remarks that Lelands’ founder, Joshua Evans, made about Brown.
Around the league
Rob Gronkowski was cleared to play at New England training camp. The New York Jets agreed to terms on a two-year deal with free-agent defensive end Jason Babin.
Philadelphia tackle Lane Johnson was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Tight end Vernon Davis reported to training camp with San Francisco after sitting out the offseason program and mandatory minicamp.
Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice is retiring from the NFL at age 27. Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu and nose tackle Alamdea Ta’amu will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.