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John Elway’s Broncos career has come to an end

The man who might have been the Chiefs’ most hated (and respected) rival ends his time in Denver.

Denver Broncos QB John Elway... SetNumber: X45456

After 16 seasons as a player — and more than a decade in his team’s front office — one of the Kansas City Chiefs’ most bitter foes is stepping away from the team.

John Elway’s consulting contract with the Denver Broncos concluded at the end of the 2022 season. On Tuesday, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported that the team would not be renewing the deal.

In a Tuesday interview with Denver’s KUSA-TV, the 62-year-old Elway said that while he won’t be under contract, he will be happy to pitch in with CEO Greg Penner and general manager George Paton.

“I’ve enjoyed the relationship with the Broncos for a long, long time,” said Elway. “I told Greg I’d be happy to be a resource for him and help in any way that I can. I just wanted the flexibility. They’re in great hands. I still plan on being around to watch and be a resource for Greg or George if I can.”

A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Elway began his NFL career as the first overall pick of the 1983 NFL Draft for the then-Baltimore Colts — who immediately traded him to the Broncos after Elway made it clear he’d rather play major league baseball than take the field for the NFL’s last-place team.

A member of the 1983 quarterback class that included fellow Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Dan Marino (along with Ken O’Brien, Tony Eason and Todd Blackledge, who became the last first-round quarterback the Chiefs would select until Patrick Mahomes in 2017), Elway outshined them all.

As a player, he led Denver to five Super Bowls (winning two of them). Then as the team’s lead executive from 2011-2020, he engineered another deal for an ex-Colts quarterback when he acquired former MVP (and Super Bowl winner) Peyton Manning, who led the Broncos to two more championship games and another Lombardi Trophy.

But Kansas City fans will always remember Elway as the magician who could almost always find a way to defeat the Chiefs. So it would probably surprise fans to be reminded that Elway was 17-12 against Kansas City — which is pretty tame compared to Manning’s 12-2 mark. But Elway led the Broncos to one of the Chiefs’ most disappointing playoff games: the 14-10 home loss in the Divisional round of the 1997 playoffs.

But now that Mahomes (and head coach Andy Reid) have brought the franchise its greatest sustained success in its long, proud history (which includes a continuing streak of 15 straight wins against Denver), it’s easier to pay tribute to Elway’s amazing career.

Not easy, mind you. Just... easier. A little easier.

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