Elway says he'll surely sign extension by season opener

DENVER (AP) John Elway insists he'll sign a new contract with the Denver Broncos before the start of the season.

Entering the final year of his contract as general manager and executive vice president of football operations, Elway said there were no hang-ups in negotiations.

''We're continuing to work at it. I don't see any problems with that. I look forward to being here with the Broncos for a long time,'' Elway said before receiving the 2017 Community Enrichment Award at the Mizel Institute's annual dinner.

Elway said, ''I don't think there will be any doubt'' that the deal will get done by the time the Broncos begin the season Sept. 11 against the Chargers.

That would mark nearly a year since the club first approached Elway about an extension in October.

The issue came up throughout last season and again over the winter. Team president Joe Ellis had hoped to get a deal done earlier this year, saying at the league's winter meetings that his wish was that ''we can get this thing resolved sooner rather than later.''

Elway, however, was focused on hiring a new coach following Gary Kubiak's surprise retirement and replenishing his roster after Denver's five-year reign as AFC West champs ended with a playoff-less 9-7 season in 2016.

Asked about his contract at the NFL combine, Elway said, ''it's just not a huge rush.'' He then sidestepped questions about his contract status when pressed during the NFL draft last month, insisting he was focused on improving his roster and not dealing with his own situation.

Elway was honored for his ''outstanding contributions in sports, business and philanthropy and his work to significantly enhance the lives of others,'' according to the Denver-based Mizel Institute, which consists of a Jewish art, culture and history museum and the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab.

Previous winners include Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in 2013. Bowlen stepped away from the team a few years ago while battling Alzheimer's. His family, including wife Annabel, was in attendance Wednesday night, which Elway said was ''a treat and very humbling for me.''

''The fact that for the last 34 years they've given me the opportunity to be able to do what I do in football and the Broncos have given me that opportunity as well as the whole Bowlen family, I'm thrilled that they're here,'' Elway said.

Elway, who joined the Broncos front office in 2011, played for Denver from 1983-98 during a Hall of Fame career capped with back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Baltimore Colts, who traded him to Denver.

''Edgar Kiser at the time was able to make the deal with the Colts and bring me here to Colorado and that's why I'm so blessed,'' Elway said. ''Colorado has been so great to me and my family. The opportunity that the Bowlens have provided me as a football player and now as a general manager is beyond belief. I'm very blessed to be able to be in Colorado.''

He insisted he's ''not going anywhere.''

''This will always be my home,'' Elway said.

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