Brian Xanders is out as GM of the Denver Broncos after 3 years in that role.
Broncos’ administrator John Elway said the decision to part strategies with a year left on Xanders’ agreement was made in a meeting between the 2 men Monday. NFL scores
Xanders, 41-year-old, aspires to have final say on staff matters after almost 20 years in the NFL, but that wasn’t going to happen in Denver, where Elway is in his 2nd season in control.
Elway is a proactive manager who has made one or two moves lately to strip down the staff office and build a line-up he predicts can battle for a championship like the ones he won during his Hall of Fame career as the Broncos quarterback.
“Brian and I had a particularly productive conversation earlier today. Although it was a very tough decision, it became clear that it was best for the Broncos and Brian to part ways,” Elway said in a press release. “I think a change to the composition of our football operations will be jointly favorable, allowing the dept to boost its potency while affording Brian the chance to continue his promising career with a different NFL team.”
Xanders joined the Broncos as helper General Manager under Coach Mike Shanahan in 2008 and was promoted to CEO following Josh McDaniels’ hiring as coach a year later. But Xanders never had final say on roster calls under Shanahan, McDaniels or Elway, who took over as VP of soccer operations last year.
While vet coach John Fox was leading the Broncos’ turn-about on the field, it was Xanders who assisted in showing Elway the connections of an NFL front office job last year, guiding him thru the administrative procedures and policies.
Elway started making significant changes in his 2nd season in control, streamlining the football operations department by promoting Matt Russell from director of school scouting to director of player personnel and hiring former agent Mike Sullivan to handle deal talks and the salary cap.
There’ll be no numerical replacement for Xanders; no-one else will get the General Manager title.
“Brian merits an extreme amount of credit and awareness for the contributions he made to the Broncos during his 4 years with the franchise,” Elway expounded. “His hard work and commitment played a big part in the latest success of our team, most notably last season’s division title and playoff win.”
The Broncos finished a 6-year playoff drought last season when they won the middling AFC West with an 8-8 record, then upset Pittsburgh in a wild-card playoff when Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown strike to Demaryius Thomas on the 1st play of overtime.
Xanders spent his first 14 seasons in the NFL in numerous capacities with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Broncos as helper General Manager under Shanahan.
After his promotion to GM, Xanders had some say — although McDaniels had last authority — in the Broncos’ much-criticized draft class of 2009 that incorporated Knowshon Moreno with the 12th pick, Robert Ayers with the 18th selection and Alphonso Smith, Darcel McBath and Richard Quinn in the 2nd round.